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Sir Ed ear MacGulloch 











Bailiff of Guernsey. 

ft V 

<-r " 












~~K. RICHARD II., ACT V.. SC. 1. 



Of late years the ancient superstitions of the people, 
their legendary tales, their proverbial sayings, and, 
in fine, all that is designated by the comprehensive 
term of " Folk-Lore," have attracted much and 
deserved attention. Puerile as are many of these 
subjects, they become interesting when a comparison 
is instituted amongst them as they exist in various 
countries. It is then seen how wide is their spread 
how, for example, the same incident in a fairy tale, 
modified according to the manners and customs of 
the people by whom it is related, extends from the 
remotest east to the westernmost confines of Europe, 
and is even found occasionally to re-appear among the 
wild tribes of the American Continent, and the 
isolated inhabitants of Polynesia. The ethnologist 
may find in this an argument for the common origin 
of all nations, and their gradual spread from one 
central point, the philosopher and psychologist may 
speculate on the wonderful construction of the human 
mind, and, throwing aside the idea of the unity of 
the race, may attribute the similarities of tradition 
to an innate set of ideas, which find their expression 


in certain definite forms, while the historian and 
antiquary may sometimes discover in these popular 
traditions, a confirmation or explanation of some 
doubtful point. Lastly, he whose sole object is 
amusement, and whose taste is not entirely vitiated 
by the exaggerated and exciting fiction of modern 
times, will turn with pleasure to the simple tales 
which have amused his childhood, and which are 
ever fresh and ever new. 

Much of this ancient lore has already perished, and 
much is every day disappearing before the influence of 
the printing press, and the consequent extension of 
education. This would scarcely be regretted, if, at the 
same time, the degrading superstitions with which much 
of these old traditions are mixed up could disappear 
with them, but unfortunately we find by experience 
that this is not the case, and that these popular 
delusions only disappear in one form to re-appear in 
another, equally, if not more, dangerous. 

A desire to preserve, before they were entirely 
forgotten, some of the traditional stories, and other 
matters connected with the folk-lore of my native 
island, induced me to attempt to collect and record 
them, but I have found the task, though pleasant, 
by no means easy. The last fifty years has made 
an immense difference here as elsewhere. The 
influx of a stranger population, and with it the 
growth and spread of the English tongue, has 


changed, or modified considerably, the manners and 
ideas of the people, more particularly in the town. 
Old customs are forgotten by the rising generation, 
what amused their fathers and mothers possesses 
little or no interest for their children, and gradually 
even the recollection of these matters dies away. 
There are good grounds for supposing that, although 
the belief in witchcraft attained its greatest develop- 
ment in the century which succeeded the Eeformation, 
and was as much the creed of the clergy as of the 
laity, other popular superstitions were looked upon 
with disfavour, and especially all those customs which 
were in any way, even remotely, connected with the 
observances of the ancient form of religion. The 
rapid spread of dissent among the middle and lower 
classes of society within the last half century has 
certainly not had the effect of diminishing popular 
credulity with respect to the existence of sorcerers 
and their supernatural powers, but, by discouraging 
the amusements in which the young naturally delight, 
and in which the elders took part, it has broken one 
of the links which connected the present with the 

Doubtless did one know where to look for it much 
might still be gleaned among the peasantry, but all 
who have attempted to make collections of popular 
lore know how difficult it is to make this class of 
people open themselves. They fear ridicule, and 


cannot conceive what interest one can have in seeking 
for information on subjects which whatever may be 
their own private opinion they have been taught to 
speak of as foolishness. 

Some of the stories in the following compilation 
were related to me by an old and valued servant of 
of the family, Rachel du Port, others were kindly 
communicated to me by ladies* and others, who had 
derived their information from similar sources, and 
whose names I have appended to them, and much 
is the result of my own research and observation. 
The subject matter of the following pages, having 
been collected at various times, and written down as 
it came to hand, is not arranged as it ought to be, 
and there are necessarily some repetitions. Whether, 
after all, the work is worthy of the time that has 
been spent on it, the reader must decide for himself. 
Suffice it to say that as far as regards myself it 
has afforded an occupation and amusement. 

Guernsey, February, J864. 

* The legends collected by Miss Lane (Mrs. Lane Clarke) \\orc subsequently published by her 
in the charming little book called Folk-L,ore of Guernsey and Sark, of which two Editions have 
been printed. 


SIR EDGAB MACCULLOCH at his death, which occurred July 31st, 
1896, bequeathed his manuscript collection of Guernsey Folk- 
Lore to the Royal Court of Guernsey, of which he had been for 
so many years Member and President. 

This collection was subsequently handed over to me by Sir 
T. Godfrey Carey, then Bailiff, and the other Members of the Court, 
to transcribe for publication : it was contained in three manuscript 
books, closely written on both sides of the pages, and interspersed 
with innumerable scraps of paper, containing notes, additions and 
corrections ; as Sir Edgar himself says in his preface, the items 
were written down as collected, local customs, fairy tales, witch 
stories, one after the other, with no attempt at classification. In 
literally transcribing them I have endeavoured to place them under 
their different headings, as recommended by the English Folk-Lore 
Society, and have inserted the notes in their proper places ; and I 
am responsible for the choice of the quotations heading the various 
chapters. In every other particular I have copied the manu- 
script word for word as I received it. It took me over three 
years to transcribe, and was placed by the Eoyal Court in the 
printer's hands in February, 1900. 

It will be noticed that three sizes of type have been used 
throughout the book ; Sir Edgar MacCulloch's subject matter has 
been printed in the largest, the Author's notes to his own text 
being in the medium, while the notes printed in the smallest 
type contain additional legends and superstitions, which have 


been told me, or collected for me, by and from the country 
people, and which I have added, thereby making the collection 
more complete. Also, at the end of the book, is an appendix 
containing a few of the legends collected by myself, which were 
too long to insert as notes, and a small collection of old Guernsey 
songs, which I have written down from the lips of the older 
inhabitants, and which, in one of the last conversations I had with 
Sir Edgar MacCulloch on the subject, he strongly recommended 
should be included in any collection of Guernsey Folk-Lore that 
should ever be published. 

I was well aware of the difficulties of the task which I 
undertook, and how unworthy I, a mere novice, was to edit 
the work of so eminent an antiquary as the late Sir Edgar 
MacCulloch ; but it was represented to me that I was one of 
the very few who took any interest in the fast vanishing 
traditions of the island, that I understood the local dialect, 
and that I had had many conversations and much assistance 
from Sir Edgar MacCulloch during his lifetime on the subject ; 
and, more especially, that if I did not do it no one else 
would undertake it, and thus the result of Sir Edgar's labours 
would be lost to the island. This, I trust may be my 
excuse for assuming so great a responsibility. I feel I should 
never have accomplished it without the unfailing assistance 
and kindness of H. A. Giffard, Esq., the present Bailiff of 
Guernsey, and John de Garis, Esq., Jurat of the Koyal Court, 
members of the Folk-Lore Committee, who have, in the midst 
of their own hard work, gone through all the proofs in 
the most untiring manner, and have helped me in every 
possible way. 

The illustrations are from photographs, collected by myself, of old 
pictures and views illustrating the Guernsey of which Sir Edgar 
MacCulloch wrote, and which is now so sadly changed, and it 
will be noticed that in various instances where Sir Edgar writes 


of " wooded valleys and cornfields, etc.," in 1864, now (1903) there 
are nothing but quarries or greenhouses. 

I am very grateful to Mr. Grigg, of High Street, for allowing 
me to use the photographs, taken by his grandson, Mr. William 
Guerin, of original pictures of Guernsey in his possession ; also to 
Mr. Edgar Dupuy, of the Arcade, and Mr. Singleton, photo- 
grapher, for the use of photographs done by them of Guernsey 

I cannot conclude without thanking the many friends who have 
helped nie by collecting folk-lore and songs, especially I must 
mention my cousin, the late Miss Ernestine Le Pelley, who gathered 
many traditions for me from the west coast of the island, and who, 
alas ! never lived to see the book, in which she took so great an 
interest, in print. The late Miss Anne Chepmell, who died in 1899, 
also gave me most valuable assistance, and so have also Mrs. Le 
Patourel, Mrs. Charles Marquand, Mrs. Mollet, Miss Margaret 
Mauger, Mrs. Sidney Tostevin, and many others in St. Martin's 
parish, who have racked their brains to remember for me " chu 
que j'ai ou'i dire a ma gran'mere." 

Le Vallon, Guernsey, April, 1903. 




I. FESTIVAL CUSTOMS ...... ............ 19 




CONNECTED WITH THEM ............. 109 


WITH THEM ................... 137 

V. CHAPELS AND HOLY WELLS. ... ... ... ... 1Q5 

VI. FAIRIES ................... ... 198 

VII. DEMONS AND GOBLINS ................ 226 

VIII. THE DEVIL ...................... 257 


X. WITCHES AND WITCHCRAFT. ............ 289 



XIII. STORY TELLING .......... ... ...... 427 







Photo, by 
T. A. GRUT. 





Sir Edgar MacCulloch, in his Robes as Bailiff of Guernsey. 

Ruins of an Old Guernsey House, Les Caretiers, St. Sampson's. . 

" La Grande Querrue." From an old phvto by T. 13. Hutton. 

Maison du Neuf Cherain, St. Saviour's. ...... 

Parish Church of St. Peter Port, shewing houses now demolished. From 

sketch by P. Le Licvre, now in possession of Mr. Grigg, . . W. GUERIN. 

Vraicing off Hougue-a-la-Perre. ... ... 

Parish Church of St. Peter Port, A.D. 1846. From original by Bentham, 

in possession of Mr. Grigg. ....... W. GUERIN. 

" L'Autel des Vardes " at L'Ancresse. ...... E. DUPUY. 

Looking up Smith Street, 1870. From original by L. Michael, in pos- 
session of Mr. Grigg. . ...... W. GUERIN. 

Creux des Files. ......... SiN6LETON. 

" Tas de Pois," showing Le Petit Honhimma Andrelot, or Andriou. . SINGLETON. 

Stone bearing the Devil's Claw at Jerbourg. . E. DUPUY. 

Wishing Wells at Mont Blicq, Forest. . . . . . . E. DUPUY. 

Wishing Well, Les Fontaines, Castel. ...... E. DUPUY. 

Another view of Creux des Fa'ies, near Cobo. ..... SINGLETON. 

Looking down Smith Street, 1870. From picture by L. Michael, in 

possession of Mr. Grigg. ....... W. GUERIN. 

Old House, Ville au Roi. ........ E. DUPUY. 

Houses in Church Square, 1825. From sketch by P. Le Lievre, in pos- 
session of Mr. Grigg. . ...... W. GUERIN. 

" Le Coin de la Biche," St. Martin's. ..... E. DUPUY. 

Looking up Fountain Street, 1825. From original bought by Mr. Grigg, 

in the Canichers, at Mr. Dobree's sale. ..... W. GUERIN. 262 

Looking down Berthelot Street, 1880. From original by L. Michael, in 

possession of Mr. Grigg. . . . . . . . W. GUERIN. 271 

Cow Lane. From drawing lent by Colonel J, H. Cartcret Carey. . E. DUPUY. 278 

Harbour, showing entrance to Cow Lane, from 'old picture. . . 287 

North Arm, Old Harbour, showing back of Pollet. From photograph bv 

Capt. Amet, (Cir. 1850). ........ 294 

Town Harbour (site of the Albert Statue). From a drawing by P. Naftel. E. DUPUY. 303 

Royal Court House, 1880. From picture by L. Michael, in possession 

of Mr. Grigg. ......... W. GUERI.V. 311 

High Street, 1850. Drawn partly from sketch, and partly photographed by the late A. C.Aiidros, Esq. 319 

Castle Cornet, 1660. From an old picture. ..... W. GUERIN. 327 

Old Harbour. (Cir. 1852) ........ Captain AMET. 

Stone supposed to represent the Ancient Priory at Lihou. Drawn by J. J. Carey, Esq. 

Mill Pond at the Vrangue. ....... E. DUPUY. 

Old Mill House at the Vrangue, early igth century. From old pencil drawing. E. DUPUY. 

Victor Hugo's " Haunted House " at Pleinmont. E. DUPUY. 

Old Market Place and States Arcade. From old photo by T. B. Hutton. E. DUPUY. 

Old Mill Buildings in the Talbot Valley. ..... E. DUPUY. 

Old House at Cobo. ........ E. DUPUY. 

Old Manor House, Anneville. . ' . . . . . . E. DUPUY. 

Oratory Window in Ruined Chapel at Anneville. . . K. DUPUY. 

St. Peter Port Harbour, 1852, shewing Old North Pier. From negative. Captain AMET. 

Old Farm House at St. Saviour's. From pencil drawing early in iqth 

century. ......... . E. DUPUY. 

Old Mill, Talbot Valley. . . ...... E. DUPUY. 

Ivy Castle. . . . . T. B. HUTTON. 

Houses facing west door of Town Church, demolished while building the 

New Market. From picture by L. Michael, in possession of Mr. Grigg. W. GUERIX. 

Old Cottage, Fermain. ...... . . E. DUPUY. 

Old Mill, Talbot Valley. ....... E. DUPUY. 

Water Lane, Couture. Copied from old photograph. . . . E. DUPUY. 

Hautgard, St. Peter's, shewing " Pelotins ". . . . . E. DUPUY. 

Old Guernsey Farm House. ....... 

Top of Smith Street, shewing portion of the old Town House (on the left^ 

of the de Sausmarez family. From old negative by Dr. y. Mansell. . E. DUPUY. 

Building south arm of Town Harbour, connecting Castle Cornet with Island. 

Old Guernsey House. From a pencil drawing of 1803. E. DUPUY. 

Old Gibbet in Herm. ........ E. DUPUY. 

Haunted Lane near Jerbourg. ..... J?. DUPUY. 




4 6 3 



The Arms of Guernsey, illustrated on the cover, are from a sketch by Sir Edgar MacCulloch himself 
drawn many years ago, and then described by him as from the most ancient seal of the island to be 
found among the records at the Greffe. 


Page 21. For " Fautrat" read " Fautrart." 

,, 21. For " entrenir" read " entretenir." 

34. (ri). For "a" read "la." 

62. For " ogygiau " read "ogygian." 

,, 63. For " Ono Maeritus " read " Onomacritus.' 

,, 75-6 (). For "savoir" read "S9auoir." 

,, 90. For " ex-communication " read " excommunication." 

,, 90. With reference to the note on p. 90 the Editor was 
then unaware of the Bull, dated Feb. 13, 1499, 
whereby Pope Alexander VI. transferred the Churches 
of the Channel Islands from the See of Coutances to 
that of Winchester. 

,, 114. Add " Les Tas de Pois d'Amont, showing," etc. 

164. For " Wishing Well at Fontaine Blicq, St. .Andrew's-" 
read " Les Fontaines de Mont Blicq, Forest." 

177 (n). For " 1303 " read " 1393." 
.311. Insert the words "in 1880." 
484. For "Tamer" read "Tamar." 


Jfastibals an& 



" Many precious rites 

And customs of our rural ancestry 
Are gone, or stealing from us." 


!HE observance of particular days and seasons, 
and of certain customs connected with them, 
has been in all countries more or less mixed 
up with religion. Many of these customs have, it is 
well known, descended to us from pagan times. The 
Church, unable altogether to eradicate them, has, in 
some cases, tacitly sanctioned, in others incorporated 
them into her own system. At the Keformation some 
of these observances were thought to savour too strongly 
of their pagan origin, or to be too nearly allied to 
papal superstitions. Accordingly W 7 e find that in a 
country like Scotland, where reformation amounted to 
a total subversion of all the forms which had hitherto 
subsisted, even such a festival as Christmas was 
proscribed, and of course with it have fallen all the 
joyous observances which characterize that season in 
England. In Guernsey, from the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth to the Restoration of Charles II., the 


Presbyterian form of Church government reigned 
supreme, and the ministers seem to have set their 
faces strongly against anything which in their 
estimation could be looked upon as superstitious. In 
the reformed churches of Geneva and France, 
whose discipline the islands had adopted, all Saints' 
days had been abolished, and, although the greater 
festivals of Christmas and Whitsuntide were retained, 
there were those in the insular congregations who 
would gladly have seen these also discarded. Dr. 
Peter Heylin, who visited the islands in 1629, tells 
us how " the Ministers were much heartened in their 
inconformity by the practice of De La Place, who, 
stomaching his disappointment in the loss of the 
Deanery of Jersey, abandoned his native country, and 
retired to Guernsey, where he breathed nothing but 
confusion to the English Liturgy, the person of the 
new Dean (David Bandinel), and the change of 
government. Whereas there was a lecture weekly 
every Thursday in the Church of St. Peter's-on-the-Sea, 
when once the feast of Christ's Nativity fell upon 
that day, he rather chose to disappoint the hearers, 
and put off the sermon, than that the least honour 
should reflect on that ancient festival." 

We find that in the year 1622 the Clergy of the 
Island complained to the Eoyal Court of the practice 
that existed in the rural parishes of people going about 
on the Eve. of St. John and on the last day of the year 
begging from house to house a custom, which, in their 
opinion, savoured much of the old leaven of Popery, 
and which, under the guise of charity, introduced and 
nourished superstition among their flocks ; whereupon 
an ordinance was framed and promulgated, forbidding 
the practice under the penalty of a fine or whipping. 


" Les Chefs Plaids Cappitaux d'appres le jour St. 
Michell tenus le Lundy dernier jour du inois de 
Septembre, Fan 1622, par Amice de Carteret, 
Esq., Bailly, presents a ce les Sieurs Pierre 
Careye, Thomas Beauvoir, Thomas de 1'Isle, 
Thomas Andros, Eleazar Le Marchant, Jean 
Bonamy, Jean Fautrat, Jean Blondel, et Jacques 
Guille, Jurez. 

" Sur la remonstrance de Messieurs les Ministres de 
ceste isle, que la vueille du jour St. Jean et celle 
du jour de Tan se fait une geuzerie ordinaire par 
les paroisses des champs en ceste isle; laquelle se 
resent grandement du viel levain de la Papaulte, 
au moyen de quoy, soubs ombre de charite, la 
superstition est introduite et nourye parmy nous, 
au grand destourbier du service de Dieu et mani- 
fests scandalle des gens de bien ; desirants iceux 
Ministres qu'il pleust a la Cour y apporter rernede 
par les voyes les plus convenables A sur ce Este 
par expres deffendu a toutes personnes qu'ils 
n'ayent en aulcun des susdits jours a geuzer, ny 
demander par voye d'aumosne aulcune chose, de 
peur d'entrenir la susdite superstition, a peine de 
soixante sous tournois d'amende sur les personnes 
capables de payer la dite amende, et s'ils n'ont 
moyen de payer, et qu'ils soyent d'aage, d'estre 
punis corporellement a discretion de Justice ; et 
quant aux personnes qui ne seront point d'aage, 
d'estre fouettes publicquement en 1'escolle de leur 

A little later, begging at Baptisms, Marriages, and 
Burials was prohibited on like grounds, and about the 
same time sumptuary laws were passed controlling the 
expenses on these occasions, and limiting the guests that 

22 GUflRtfSE? FOLK-LOB fi. 

might be invited to persons in the nearest degrees of 
consanguinity. Dancing and singing were also forbidden, 
and any persons convicted of these heinous crimes were 
to perform public penance in their parish church, 
barefooted and bareheaded, enveloped in a sheet, and 
holding a lighted torch in their hand. 

It is not therefore to be wondered at if many obser- 
vances and customs, innocent in themselves, came to 
be forgotten, and this would be more especially the case 
with such as were connected with the festivals of the 
Church. Still some few observances and superstitions 
have survived, and of these we will now endeavour to 
give the best account we can. We would, however, 
previously remark that the Guernsey people are an 
eminently holiday-loving race, and that, notwithstanding 
their long subjection to Presbyterian rule, and the 
ascetic spirit of modern dissent, the love of amusement 
is still strong in them. Christmas Day and the day 
following, the first two days of the year, the Monday 
and Tuesday at Easter and Whitsuntide, Midsummer 
Day and the day after, are all seasons when there is an 
almost total cessation of work, and all give themselves 
up to gaiety and the household must be poor indeed 
where a cake is not made on these occasions. 

But before launching into a description of their 
ceremonies, festivals, and superstitions, perhaps it might 
prove of interest if we here attempt to give a slight 
description of the dress of our island forefathers at 
different periods, during the last three hundred years, 
drawn from various sources. 

We will begin by an extract from a letter written by 
Mr. George Metivier, that eminent antiquary, historian, 
and philologist, to the Star of June 20th ; 1831 ; 



Knows't me not by my clothes ? 
No, nor thy tailor." 


" Suppose we conjure up a Guernseyman in his winter 
dress a specimen of the outer man, such as it appeared 
on high-days and holidays ' sighing like a furnace to its 
mistress' eye-brow ' in the reign of the most puissant 
King Henry VIII., and under the long dynasty of the five 
Westons (James Guille, the son-in-law of one of them, 
was then Bailiff). It is probable that the insular 
gentleman, in the highest sense of that important word, 
copied the dress of his English and Norman friends, as 
well as their manner, whether in good or evil. 

" Similitude excludes peculiarity : we have therefore 
nothing to do with Monsieur le Gouverneur, or Monsieur 
le Baillif, or the most refined in wardrobe matters of his 
learned assessors. It is certain, however, that the 
generality of our ancestors ' 1'honnete ' and sometimes 
' le prudhomme ' derived the materials and cut of their 
raiment from St. Male's whence their very houses were 
occasionally imported ready built. We are indebted to 
a writer of the Elizabethan era for the source of the 
following portrait. 

" Le cadaii* the chief article of a Guernseyman 's 
winter costume, exactly resembled, both in name and form, 
the primitive Irish mantle. Generally composed of wool, 
or of a kind of shag-rug, bordered with fur, it descended 
in ample folds till it reached the heels. A surface 

* A covering or defence. (Celtic.) 


of such extraordinary dimensions might have exposed 
the wearer to some inconvenience in stormy weather : 
but our fathers, no novices in the art of cloak-wearing, 
knew how to furl and unfurl this magnificent wrapper, 
and suit its folds and plaits to all changes of the season. 
In the first Charles' reign, the Jersey farmers, who still 
' bartered the surplusage of their corn with the Spanish 
merchants at St. Malo's,' were far better acquainted 
with that long-robed nation than we can now pretend 
to be. To the cadad was attached a carapouce* an 
enormous hood. If made of serge or good cloth, it 
was still a carapouce ; if the material was coarse such as 
friars wore through humility, or mariners and fishermen 
from motives of economy the carapouce degenerated into 
a couaille. The sea-farer's top-coat affords an instance, 
not yet quite obsolete, of this island's former partiality for 
Armorican tailors, dresses, and names a Tardif and a 
Dorey will show you their griyo. f 

"The residence of mind for our ancestor, this 'fine 
lleur de Norman,' probably had one was not forgotten. 
Muffled up in a voluminous hood, like that .of a Spanish 
frayle, it was further protected by the native wig ' la 
perruque naturelle ' and kept warm by a bonnet, part of 
the cad ail uniform, yclept la barrette. The orginal 
liread, a lay mitre, -not then peculiar to Ireland was a 
conical cap, somewhat resembling the foraging military 


" His Grace, or Holiness we are a bad hand at title 
dealing the Eight Reverend Primate of Normandy, 
having once preached a most godlie and comfortable 
sermon against long bushy perriwigs, descended from his 

* Carnbvuss bras. (Breton), 
t A wrapper (Celtic). These terms are still used in the country. 


pulpit in the Cathedral of Eouen, scissors in hand, then 
doing merciless execution therewith on King Henry I. 
and all the princely and noble heads committed to his 
charge, exhorted them to perpetrate a crime for which 
that traitor deserved to lose his own. 
' The people vary too, 
Just as their princes do.' 

So sings Nat Wanley, who was no nightingale ; but 
even when the eighth Harry, and the whole nation, 
aping him, shore their beautiful locks, in spite of many 
a fond wife, what luxuriant male tresses continued to 
flourish in the Norman Isles ! Our friend of the Star 
may remember the time when the dangling chevelure 
of our village beaux and ' Soudards de Milice,' though 
confined with w r hipcord on working days, was regularly 
let loose in honour of Sunday and other grand festivals. 
It is true that burly wife-killing Tudor did interfere. 
Ah, woe is me ! He requireth from his Normans as 
well as from his Irish lieges ' conformitie in order and 
apparel with them that be civill people ' (A.D. 1537). 
At least, the alteration took place in both places exactly 
at the same period ; for the censorious terms of this 
statute were neither applicable nor applied to our 
ancestors. Indeed, from the size and structure of here 
and there a yeoman's house, richly overlaid with the 
golden moss of antiquity, it would seem that the 
dwellings of our peasantry were very different from the 
mud-built* and chimneyless cottages of old England. 
(Such as Jean Lestocq's house in la Yingtaine des 
Charites, Catel the traditional residence of an indivi- 
dual mentioned in a spirited ballad of the year 1371). 

* At least wattle-built and plastered with mud, if not mud-built altogether. 
Holiiiahed exclaims ngainst the innovation of chimneys, and regrets that " willow- 
built houses " are no longer fashionable. 



" Be this as it may, ' Though the language of such 
as dwell in these Isles was French, the wearing of their 
haire long, and their attire was all after the Irish 
guise till the reigne of King Henrie the VIII.' These are 
the words of Ealph Holinshed, who quotes Leland." 

The following description of the dress of the people 
of Sark in 1673, is taken from a letter in the 
Harleian MSS. ; it is quoted in full in the "Historical 
Sketch of the Island of Sark, " in the Guernsey 
Magazine for 1874 : 

" Sure I am the genius of the people cannot but be 
docile, since they are naturally of a courteous affable 
temper, and the least tainted with pride that ever I saw 
any of their nation ; that apish variety of fantastic 
fashions, wherewith Paris is justly accused to infect all 
Europe, has here no footing, where every one retains the 
same garb their ancestors wore in the days of Hugh 
Capet and King Pippin ; so that I can give small 
encouragement to any of the Knights of the Thimble 
to transport themselves hither, where cucumbers are 
like to be more plenty than in the back-side of St. 
Clement's ; each man religiously preserving his vast 
blue trunk-breeches, and a coat almost like a Dutch 
frau's vest, or one of your waterman's liveries. Nor 
are the women behindhand with them in their hospital- 
gowns of the same colour, wooden sandals, white 
stockings and red petticoats, so mean they are scarce 
worth taking up. Both sexes on festivals wear large 
ruffs, and the women, instead of hats or hoods, truss 
up their hair, the more genteel sort in a kind of 
cabbage net ; those of meaner fortunes in a piece of 
linen ; perhaps an old dish-clout turned out of service ; 
or the fag-end of a table-cloth, that had escaped the 
persecution of washing ever since the Beforrnation. j 


this they, tying on the top, make it shew like a Turkish 
turban, but that part of it hangs down their backs like 
a veil." 

In Jersey the " fantastic fashions " of Paris seem to 
have penetrated at an early date, for on the 22nd of 
September, 1636, a sumptuary law was passed, forbidding 
anyone, male or female, to put on garments " au-dessus 
de sa condition ; " and also forbidding women to ornament 
their bonnets with lace costing more than " quinze sols " 
(a " sol " was worth about a franc) a yard, or to put on 
silken hoods, the wear of which was reserved for ladies of 
quality. A short time after this ordinance was passed, 
a Madame Lempriere, wife of the Seigneur de Eosel, 
noticed in church, one Sunday, a peasant woman wearing 
the most magnificent lace in her bonnet. She waited for 
her after church, tore it off before the whole congregation, 
covering her with abuse the while ; and her friends stood 
round and applauded her action ! 

The most picturesque of our island costumes must 
have been that of the Alderney women in the last 
century as described by Mrs. Lane-Clarke in her 
"Guide to Alderney." "A scarlet cloth petticoat and 
jacket, a large ruff round their necks, fastened under the 
chin by a black ribbon, or gold hook, and a round 
linen cap, stiffened so much as to be taken off or put 
on as a man's hat. On one occasion, when the island 
was menaced by a French inan-of-war, the Governor 
ordered out all the women in their scarlet dresses, and, 
disposing them skilfully upon the heights, effectually 
deceived the enemy with the appearance of his forces." 

At about this period the dress of the old Guernsey 
farmer was " a large cocked hat, and thin ' queue 
a la francaise,' a long blue coat with brass 
buttons, flowered waistcoat and jean trousers. Of course 


this was only for Sundays and festivals. The women wore 
the black silk plaited Guernsey bonnet, accompanied by a 
close mob cap underneath, with a narrow muslin border ; 
plain on the forehead and temples, but plaited from the 
ears to the chin. A petticoat of black stuff, thickly 
quilted, the gown of an old fashion chintz pattern 
open in front, and tucked into the pocket holes of the 
petticoat ; the boddice open in front to the waist, with a 
coloured or starched muslin handkerchief in lieu of a 
habit-shirt ; tight sleeves terminating just below the elbow ; 
blue worsted stockings, with black velvet shoes and 

This description is taken from an old guide book of 
1841. The dress was rapidly becoming obsolete then, and 
has now, like almost every other relic of the past, com- 
pletely disappeared. 

We will now return to the account of our local feasts 
and festivals. 

Beginning with the commencement of the ecclesiastical 
year the holy season of Advent the first day that claims 
our attention is that dedicated to Saint Thomas, not 
because of any public observance connected with it, but 
on account of its being supposed to be a time when the 
secrets of futurity may be inquired into. 

Under the head of " Love Spells " we shall describe the 
superstitious practices to which, it is said, some young 
women still resort, in order to ascertain their future 

It is not improbable that some of these observances 
have been kept alive by the constant communication that 
has always existed in times of peace between the islands 
and continental Normandy, not a few young people of 
both sexes coming over from the mainland to seek for 
employment as farm servants. 


la Imtgrw f t\\\t. 

" Meanwhile the village rouses up the fire ; 
" While well attested, and as well believ'd, 
" Heard solemn, goes the goblin story round | 
" Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all." 

In former days the most lucrative occupation of the 
people was that of knitting woollen goods for the English 
and French markets. This branch of industry was of 
great importance in fact, after the decay of the fisheries, 
which followed the discovery of Newfoundland, it consti- 
tuted the staple trade of the island, and the memory of 
the manufacture still subsists in the name of " Guernsey 
jackets" and "Jerseys," given to the close-fitting knitted 
frocks worn by sailors. So highly were the Guernsey 
woollen goods esteemed that they were considered a 
fitting present for Royalty, and in 1556 Queen Mary* 
did not disdain to receive from Sir Leonard Chamberlain, 
Governor of the Island, four waistcoats, four pair of 
sleeves, and four pair of hose of " Garnsey making, "f 
In the accounts of the Eoyal Scotch wardrobe for the 
year 1578, mention is made of w^oollen hose and gloves 
of Garnsey. { In 1586, the keeper of Queen Elizabeth's 

* I am indebted to Mr. Bury Palliser, the accomplished author of " A History of 
Lace," for these interesting particulars concerning the ancient staple manufacture of 
these islands. 

t New Year gifts to Queen Mary (Tudor), 1556. Sir Leonard Chamberlain, 
" 4 waistcoats, 4 paire of slevys, and 4 paire of hoosen of Garnsey making." 

J Scotch Royal WarJrobe : Three pair of wolwin hois of worsetis of Garnsey. 
Sjx pair.,* of gloves of the same. 


wardrobe paid the high price of twenty shillings for one 
pair of knitted hose " de facturd Garnescie" It is true 
that these are described as having the upper part and 
the clocks of silk. ("Accounts of the Keeper of the Gt. 
Wardrobe, Elizabeth XXVIII. to XXIX., A.D. 1586 "). 
And finally the unfortunate Mary Stuart wore at her 
execution a pair of white Guernsey hose. 

The sheep kept in those days in the island were few in 
quantity, of an inferior breed, described by old writers as 
having four or more horns, producing coarse scanty wool, 
far from sufficient to furnish the supply of raw material 
required to meet the demand of the manufactured article. 
It was necessary therefore to have recourse to England, 
but the restrictive laws of that day prohibited the exporta- 
tion of wool, and it was only by special Acts of Parliament 
that a certain quantity, strictly limited, was allowed 
annually to leave the kingdom for the use of the islands. 
The Governor who could succeed by his representations 
in getting this quantity increased was sure to win the 
lasting gratitude of the people. 

Men and women of all ages engaged in this manu- 
facture, and time was so strictly economised that the 
farmer's wife, riding into market with her well stored 
paniers, knitted as the old horse jogged on through the 
narrow roads, and the fisherman, after having set his 
lines, and anchored his boat to wait for the turn of the 
tide, occupied the leisure hour in fashioning a pair of 
stockings, or a frock. 

In the long winter evenings neighbours were in the 
habit of meeting at each other's houses in turn, and while 
the matrons took their places on the " lit de fouaille," 
and the elderly men occupied the stools set in the deeper 
recess of the chimney, the young men and maidens 
gathered together on the floor, and by the dim light of 


the " cresset,"* plied their knitting, sang their songs, 
and told their stories the songs and tales that appear 
later on in this collection. Our thrifty ancestors too 
were well imbued with the wisdom of the old saw that 
bids one " take care of the pence," and the saving of 
fuel and oil, which was affected by working in company 
under the same roof, entered for something in their 
calculations. These assemblies were called " veilles " 
or " veillies," and were well adapted to keep up a 
pleasant neighbourly feeling. 

The wares thus made were brought into town for 
sale on the Saturday, but there was one day in the year 
when a special market or fair for these goods was held, 
and that was the day before Christmas. The night 
previous to that the 23rd December was employed in 
preparing and packing up the articles, and, being the 
termination of their labours for the year, was made an 
opportunity for a feast. Masters were in the habit of 
regaling their servants merchants treated those with 
whom they had dealings and neighbours clubbed 
together to supply the means of spending a joyous night. 
It may be that the restraint imposed by the Puritan 
Clergy de la Marche, La Place, and others on all 
convivial meetings connected in any way with religious 
observances, caused this occasion for rejoicing which 
could not by any possibility be branded with the imputa- 
tion of superstition to be more highly appreciated than 
it would otherwise have been, and to replace in some 
degree the usual festivities of the season. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The Guernsey " crasset " was very unlike the English "cresset," which was 
in the form of an iron lantern, filled with inflammable materials. Ours was suspended from a 
hook or a cord along which it was pulled to the required point, and was rounded at one end 
and pointed at the other, and filled with oil. It is derived from the Fr. " creuset " from 
Latin crux a cross, because anciently crucibles and all vessels for melting metals were marked 
with a cross. 


Although the manufacture of woollen goods as a 
staple article of trade has corne to an end, and the 
social " veilles " are no longer kept up, " la longue 
veille, " or the evening of the 23rd of December, 
is still observed as an occasion for family gatherings 
in many Guernsey households, though there is perhaps 
not one person in twenty who can tell the origin of the 
custom. Mulled wine, highly spiced and sweetened, and 
always drunk out of coffee cups, with mild cheese and 
a peculiar sort of biscuit called emphatically u Guernsey 
biscuit" is considered quite indispensable on this evening, 
and indeed on all occasions of family rejoicing ; while on 
every afternoon of the 23rd of December the old country 
people were met riding home from town with their panniers 
full of provisions for the night. The next day, Christmas 
Eve, is called the " surveille," and the town on that 
evening is flocked with pleasure-seekers, buying and 
eating chestnuts and oranges. 

attft Jl^to . ) mi. 

Every season 

Shall have its suited pastime ; even winter, 
In its deep noon, when mountains piled with snow 
And choked up valleys from our mansion, bar 
All entrance, and nor guest nor traveller 
Sounds at our gate ; the empty hall forsaken, 
In some warm chamber, by the crackling fire, 
We'll hold our little, snug, domestic court, 
Plying our work with song and tale between." 
Joanna Bailh'e. 

From St. Thomas' Day to New Year's Eve is considered 
to be a season when the powers of darkness are more than 
usually active, and it is supposed to be dangerous to be 


out after dark.* Men returning home on these nights 
have been led astray by the " faeu Bellengier " or Will o' 
the wisp, and when they believed themselves to be close to 
their own doors have found themselves, they knew not 
how, in quite another part of the island. Others have 
been driven almost crazy by finding themselves followed 
or preceded by large black dogs, which no threats could 
scare away and on which no blows could take effect. 
Some find their path beset by white rabbits that go 
hopping along just under their feet. 

It is generally believed that just at midnight on 
Christmas Eve all the cattle kneel and adore the new- 
born Saviour, f The considerate farmer will take care 
to place an extra quantity of litter in the stall when he 
shuts up his beasts for the night, but none would 
venture to wait and see the event. Such prying 
curiosity is too dangerous, for it is related how, on one 
occasion, a man who professed to disbelieve the fact 
remained watching till the witching hour. What he 
saw was never known, for, as he was leaving the stable, 
the door slammed violently, and he fell dead on the 

It is also said that, on the same night, and at 
the same hour, all water turns to wine. A woman, 
prompted by curiosity, determined to verify the truth 


* In Conies Populaires, Prejuges, Patois, Proverbes, etc., de Varrondissentent de Bayeux, 
par M. Pluquet ; scconde edition, 1834, it is said : " During the eight days before Christmas 
(Les Avents de Noel) apparitions are most frequent, and sorcerers have most power." 

+ This belief also prevails in Normandy, for M. Du Bois says : Les paysans sont persuades 
que, la veille de Noel, a 1 heure du sacrement de la messe de minuit, tous les bestiaux, et 
surtout les boeufs et les vaches, mettent un genou en terre pour rendre hommage a Jesus 
naissant. II serait imprudent, disent-ils, de chercher a s'assurer de ce fait par soi-meme ; on 
courrait le risque d'etre battu." Recherches stir la Normandie, Du Bois, 1843, p. 343! And in 
the centre of France and Berry : " On assure qu'au moment ou le pretre eleve 1'hostie, pendant 
a messe de minuit, tous les animaux de la paroisse s'agenouillent et prient devant leurs 
creches." Croyances et Legendes d Centre de l(t France, par Laisnel de la Salle. Tome ier f 
P. J 7- 


of this allegation, Just at midnight, she proceeded 
to draw a bucket of water from the well, when she heard 
a voice addressing her in the following words : 

" Toute 1'eau se tourne en vin, 
Et tu es proche de ta fin." 

She fell down struck with a mortal disease, and before 
the end of the year was a corpse.* 

Notwithstanding the supernatural terrors of this night, 
groups of young men and women from all parts of the 
country flock into town after their day's work is done, and 
assemble in crowds in the market place, "where they 
regale on oranges and roasted chestnuts. The public- 
houses profit greatly by their presence ; rendered valiant 
by their potations, and feeling security in numbers, they 
return home at a late hour, singing in chorus some 
interminable ditty, which, if goblins have any ear for 
music, must certainly have the effect of driving them far 

By those in easy circumstances Christmas Day is now 
celebrated much as it is in England. The houses are 
decorated with holly and other evergreens the same 
substantial fare loads the hospitable board, presents of 
meat or geese are sent to poor dependants, and families 
who are dispersed re-assemble at the same table. It is 
still customary for the poorer classes among the peasantry, 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* In Sark the superstition is that the water in the streams and wells 
turns into blood at midnight on Christmas Eve, and they also tell you that if you go and 
look you die within the year. One Sark man said that he was determined to go to the well 
and draw water at midnight, come what might. So on Christmas Eve he sallied forth to 
reach the well in his back yard ; as he crossed the threshold he tripped and hit his head 
against the lintel of the door, and was picked up unconscious the next morning. Most people 
would have taken this as a warning and desisted, but he was obstinate, and the following 
Christmas Eve he left the house at midnight as before, but as he approached the well he heard 
a voice saying : 

" Qui veut voir 

Veut sa mort." 

Then at last he was frightened, and rushed back into the house, and never again did he 
attempt to pry into forbidden mysteries." From Airs. Le Messurier, of Sark. 

c 2 


who at any other season of the year would be ashamed to 
beg, to go about from door to door some days before 
Christmas, asking for alms under the name of " Noel," 
in order to be able to add something to their scanty fare ; 
and before grates and sea-coal became so common it was 
usual to reserve a large log of wood to be burned on the 
hearth at Christmas. This was called " le tronquet de 
Noel " and is evidently the same as the Yule log of the 
North of England. 

In the neighbouring island of Alderney, one of the 
favourite diversions in the merry meetings at this 
festive season was the assuming of various disguises. 
Porphyrius, a native of Tyre, and a disciple of 
Longinus in the year 223 speaks of the "Feast of 
Mithras, or the Sun, where men were in the habit 
of disguising themselves as all sorts of animals lions, 
lionesses, crows ; ' and St. Sampson, on his second 
visit to Jersey, gave gilded medals to the children on 
condition that they stayed away from these fetes ; so 
says Mr. Metivier in one of his early letters to the 

On the last night of the year it was customary (and 
the practice has not altogether fallen into desuetude) for 
boys to dress up a grotesque figure, which they called 
" Le vieux bout de Fan," and after parading it through 
the streets by torch-light with the mock ceremonial of 
a funeral procession, to end by burying it -011 the beach, 
or in some other retired spot, or to make a bonfire and 
burn it.* 

"How often has it been my melancholy duty to 
attend, sometimes as chief mourner (or mummer), the 
funeral of old Bout de VAn ! A log of wood, wrapt 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* Hence the country people's term for the effigy of Guy Fawkes on the 5th 
of November " le vieux bout de 1'an," 


up in sable cloth, was his usual representative, when, 
with great and even classical solemnity, just as the 
clock struck twelve, the juvenile procession set itself 
in motion, every member thereof carrying a lantern 
scooped out of a turnip, or made of oiled paper. . . 
Ere the law-suit between old and new style was for 
ever settled, the annual log Andrew Bonamy is mine 
authority underwent the Pagan ceremony of incineration 
at the Gallet-Heaume." (Mr. Metivier in the Star, 
March 14th, 1831.) 

This is probably one of the superstitious practices 
against which the ordinance of the Eoyal Court in 1622 
was directed. At the same time, children were wont to 
go about from house to house to beg for a New Year's 
gift, under the name of "hirvieres" or "oguinane." In 
so doing they chanted the following rude rhyme : 

Oguinani ! Oguinano ! 

Ouvre ta pouque, et pis la recllios.f 

f " OguinSni ! Oguiniino ! 

Ope thy purse, and shut it then." 

There has been much discussion as to the derivation of " oguinane," from which the 
Scottish " hogmanay " also comes. Mr. Metivier, in his dictionary, says that it means 
the annual present of a master to his servants, of a seigneur to his vassals, of a father 
to his children, and derives it from " agenhine feoh " or " hogenehyne fee" the present 
made, or money given, to those who belong to you a word composed of " agen " one's 
own as the English own, and " hind " servant, one of the family. And he laughs at 
the theory propounded by various French and English folklorists that it is derived from 
the rites of the Druids, and comes from their ancient cry " An guy 1'an nettf " " the 
mistletoe (gui) of the New Year " New Year's D.iy bsing tha day the pagans went 
into the forests to seek the mistletoe on the o:\ks. (See Notes and Queries. 
Series III. Vol. IV. p. 486.) In the Star of March I4th, 1831, Mr. Metivier tells us 
that "as late as the reign of Louis XIV. it was usual for the populace round Morlaix 
to chant a variety of bacchanalian songs on the last eve of the year, and the chorus or 
reftain of every stanza was precisely what I should never have fancied it to be our 

' Oghin an eit ! Oghin an eit ! ' 

I am informed by a worthy monk that the good news announced by these mystical 
words had nothing to do with the religion of Christ, and that, being interpreted, they 
only tell us that ' the wheat is upspringing - le bled germe.' Eit and od originally 


In Scotland Hogmanay is the universal popular name 
for the last day of the year. " It is a day of high festival 
among young and old but particularly the young.* * * 
It is still customary, in retired and primitive towns, for the 
children of the poorer class of people to get themselves on 
that morning swaddled in a great sheet, doubled up in 
front, so as to form a vast pocket, and then to go along 
the streets in little bands, calling at the doors of the 
wealthier classes for an expected dole of wheaten bread. 
This is called their Hogmanay."* 

The first day of the year is with all classes, in Guernsey 
the one most strictly observed as a holiday, and, in all 
but the religious observance, is more thought of than even 
Christmas Day. Presents are given to friends, servants 
and children ; the heads of families gather around them 
those who have left the paternal roof ; more distant 
relatives exchange visits ; young people call at the houses 

implied not wheat only, but every sort of grain and seed. Thus it appears that what 
at first sight defied all rational conjecture - the ' oguinani, oguindno,' cry of our 
small gentry, once formed the immemorial chorus of an Armorican hymn the pure 
heathen liturgical relic of some Gaulish festival. The primitive ditty was full of 
allusions to the increase of light, the revival of vegetable nature, and other seasonable 
topics. The noisy little heralds of this pleasing intelligence received for their reward 
an ' oguinSne,' or, as it is now called, ' leurs hirvieres '-an hibernum donum or winter 
gift. It is true that a few half-learned lexicographers talk of the mistletoe and ' Au 
Guy 1'An Neuf ; ' but the French savans were systematic haters of France's aboriginal 
languages, and the minor Latin poet who invented this nonsensical interpretation of a 
word whose etymon he was too lazy to dig for in its native mine has hardly been dead 
two centuries." 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The old people of St. Martin's parish still (1896) talk of having in their 
youth gone to the neighbours' houses on New Year's Eve singing the following rhyme : 

" Bon four, Monsieur I Bon jour, Madame. ! 
ye n'vous ai pas vu acouare (encore) chut (cette) an, 
Et je vous souhaite une bou&ne annee, 
Et mes irvi&res s'i'vous plliet" 

And a little bowl or bag of pennies was always at hand for gratuities, 


of their aged kinsfolk to wish them many happy returns 
of the season, and, in many cases, to receive the gifts 
that are awaiting them ; and receptions now become 
almost official in their character are held by the 
Lieutenant-Governor, the Bailiff, and the Dean. Cake 
and wine are offered to visitors, and the day ends in most 
households with a feast in proportion with their means 
and rank in society. All the morning the roads and 
streets are crowded with groups of persons hurrying from 
house to house, hands are warmly shaken, kind words 
are spoken, many a little coolness or misunderstanding 
is forgotten, and even breaches of long standing are 
healed, when neighbours join in eating the many cakes 
for which Guernsey is famous, and which are considered 
suitable for the occasion. The favourite undoubtedly is 
" gache a corinthes," anglice "currant cake," also a 
kind of soft bread-cake, known by the name of "galette; " 
and on Christmas Day a sort of milk-cake, called " gache 
detrempee " is baked early in the morning, so as to appear 
hot at the breakfast table ; and so completely is this 
repast looked upon in the light of a family feast, that 
parents living in the country send presents of these cakes 
to their children who have taken service in town. A 
younger brother will leave the paternal roof long before 
daybreak to carry to his sister, at her master's house, the 
cake which the affectionate mother has risen in the 
middle of the night to bake for her absent child. 


" And at the farm on the lochside of Rannock, in parlour and kitchen, 
Hark ! there is music yea, flowing of music, of milk, and of whiskey ; 
Dancing and drinking, the young and the old, thu spectators and actors, 
Never not actors the young, and the old not always spectators : 
Lo, I see piping and dancing!" 

" The Bothie of Tober-na-Vnolich," by A. H. Clough. 

The parsnip seems to have been cultivated at a 
very early period in Guernsey, the soil appearing to be 
particularly well suited to the growth of this valuable 
root. We have proof that tithe of them was paid in 
times long anterior to the Reformation, although not 
claimed in the present day. In order to secure a good 
crop, it is necessary that the ground should be deeply 
trenched, and this operation, which takes place at the 
beginning of the year, and entails a great amount of 
labour, is, nevertheless, looked forward to with pleasure, 
as it gives rise to social meetings. The trenching of 
the soil was formerly, and is still occasionally, effected 
by the spade alone. This was done by farm labourers 
and hired men with a peculiar spade called " Une beque 
de Guernesi." Made by the country blacksmiths 
of the island, the handle was of wood, generally ash, 
and so was the upper portion of the blade, which was 
heart-shaped, the tip of the blade being of steel. It was 
a very slow operation, four perches a day being the 
utmost one man could accomplish, so that it had to 
begin very early in the year, " whilst eating the bread 
baked at Christinas," as the old farmers said. But about a 
hundred years ago the " grand' querrue " or big plough 
\vas introduced at Les Fontaines, in the Castel parish, 
the house of the Lenfesteys. This is preceded by one of 



the ordinary size to trace the furrow. The large plough, 
being an expensive instrument and one that is only 
wanted occasionally, is often the joint property of several 
neighbours, who unite together to assist each other in 
working it. Each brings his quota of labourers, and as 
many as twenty-two animals have been sometimes seen 
harnessed to the same plough, to wit, six bullocks and 
sixteen horses. Every man who is fortunate enough to 
be the possessor of a beast deems himself bound in 
honour to produce it on these occasions. The plough is 
generally guided by the owner of the field, and a furrow 
is made about twelve inches deep by about eighteen 
to twenty-four inches wide. As the labour is social, 
all work with good will and emulation, and the scene 
is one of great animation. Of course the assistance 
given is gratuitous, or, to speak more correctly, is to be 
returned in kind when required. The farmer, however, 
who avails himself of the labour of his neighbours, 
is expected to feed them. The consequence is that the 
" grand' querrue " is made the occasion of a rural feast. 
The cider, for which the island is famous, circulates 
freely throughout the day, and the prettiest girls are 
selected as cup-bearers. Work begins about seven o'clock 
in the morning ; about ten o'clock a sort of luncheon 
called "mi-matin" is provided; this consists of bread 
and butter, with cheese, fried cod fish, and strong 
tea or coffee. At noon the cattle are unharnessed 
and put to feed, and then comes the dinner of 
cabbage-soup, a large boiled ham or ."palette," a 
breast-piece of pork, and perhaps a round of beef. At 
two o'clock work is resumed, with a stoppage at four 
for a " mi-relevee " of tea and currant cake, and 
occasional intervals for " une petite goutte;" for it is 
well known that " i'faut prendre une petite goutte pour 


arrousa'i, ou bien j'n'airons pas d'panais," " one must 
take a sip to moisten the field, or there will be no 
parsnips." The day closes with a substantial supper, 
more beef, more ham, enormous plum-puddings, baked, 
not boiled, in the old ovens, (" grosses houichepotes ") 
with plenty of cider. 

To this feast it is customary to invite the 
members of the respective families who have not 
taken part in the labours of the day, and the richer 
farmers send presents of pudding to their poorer 
neighbours who are not invited to share in the 
work. Friends and relations who reside at a 
distance, or in town, also join the gathering, and 
the best part of the night is spent in singing, 
dancing, story-telling, blind man's buff, or the ancient 
roundelay of " rnon beau laurier."* 

Shrove Tuesday is observed in the usual way, by a 
general frying and eating of pancakes, and the custom 
must be old, and one of the superstitious practices which 
the zeal of the Presbyterian clergy failed in eradicating ; 
for, had it been re-introduced from England, it is not 
likely that it would have become so universal, or have 
taken so strong a hold on the minds of the people. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * One curious custom at the supper or "defrique" was that the men bad 
their meal first, and not till they had finished did the women sit down to have theirs, 


in f ti. 

In the neighbouring island of Alderney, the first Sunday 
in Lent is known as " Le Dimanche des Brandons " a 
name by which it is designated in old calendars, and 
which it still bears in some parts of France.* According 
to the late Mr. John Ozanne (de la Salerie), a native of 
Alderney, it was also known as " le jour des vitres," 
this last word having, as he said, in the dialect of 
Alderney, the meaning of masks. This gives rise to the 
supposition that in days gone by masking formed part of 
the entertainment. On this day the young people made 
bonfires and danced round them, especially at " La 
Pointe de Clanque." This dance was supposed to have 
had a bacchanalian origin, but was practised up to fifty 
years ago ; they revolved round these bonfires, and leapt 
over them, and then, lighting wisps of straw, returned 
to the town by the fields, throwing about these torches, 
to the great danger of the thatched roofs. 


* That these customs were also kept up in Guernsey is evident from the following extract 

from the manuscript note book of Monsieur Elie Brevint, who died in the island of Sark in 

1674, aged 87. He says : " Le premier Dimanche de Caresme s'appelle le jour des Brandons ; 

a St. Martin de Guerneze les jeunes homines par esbat portent au soir du dit jour brandons 
de glie, etc. 

In Les Archives de Norntandie, 1824, p. 164, there is the following notice of " Le Jour 
des Brandons," which shows that this custom also prevailed in various parts of France. " A 
Saint Vaast et a Reville, la vcille de 1'Epiphanie, des centaines d'enfants et meme d'hommes, 
parcourrent les campagnes munis de brandons allumes. Us crient, ' Taupes et mulots, sortez 
de mon clos, ou je vous mets le feu sur le dos.' Ou dans quelques autres parties de la 
Normandie on chante ces vers-ci : 

Bon jour les rois 

Jusqu'a dpuze mois 

Douz' mois passes 

Rois, revenez ! 

Charge, pommier ! 

A chaq' petite branchette 

Tout plein ma grand' pochette, 

Taupes, mulots, 

Sortez du clos, 

Ou j' vous brul'rai la barbc et 1's os ! 



On the morning of Good Friday it is the custom 
of the young people who live near the sea shore to 
make parties to go down to the beach to collect limpets. 
When a sufficient quantity of these shell fish has been 
taken, a flat stone or rock of sufficient size is selected, 
and, after being carefully swept and divested of all 
extraneous matter, the limpets are arranged on it 
with their shells uppermost. A head of dry furze or 
other brushwood is then placed over them and set 
on fire, and the limpets are left covered with the 
hot embers until they are supposed to be sufficiently 
cooked. Bread-cakes, fresh baked if hot from the 
oven so much the better with an ample supply of 
the rich butter for which the island is so famous, 
and a few bottles of cider or beer, have been provided 
beforehand by the members composing the pic-nic, 
and the limpets, now done to a turn, are eaten as a 
relish to the simple meal, with a better appetite, and 

Le lendemain au soir on allume un nouvcau feu qu'on appele une Bourgulee, et 1'on renouvelle 
le raeme chant, qui commence encore par 'Adieu les Rois,' etc. Dans la Commune de Creance, 
une grande partie de la population passe presque toute la nuit du premier Dimanche de Careme 

a faire la meme sommation aux taupes et aux mulots Le Dimanche des Brandons 

est une date commune et naturelle des actes du moyen age." 

The " Dimanche des Brandons " was also kept up in the centre of France with very much the 
same ceremonies. See Croyances et Legendes du centre de la France, Laisnel de la Salle. 
Tome icr. Page 35. 

" At Dijon, in Burgundy, it is the custom upon the first Sunday in Lent to make large fires 
in the streets, whence it is called " Firebrand Sunday." This practice originated in the 
processions formerly made on that day by the peasants with lighted torches of straw, to drive 
away, as they called it, the bad air from the earth." From Nori Bourguinons, p. 1^8. Quoted 
}n Brand's Observations on Popular Antiquities, p. 57. 


more real pleasure than probably a far more elaborate 
feast would afford.* 

Hot cross buns on Good Friday were unknown in 
Guernsey at the commencement of the present century. 

There do not appear to be any particular customs 
connected with Easter, but some old people can still 
remember that in their youth the children in some parts 
of the country used to go about from door to door begging 
for eggs.f This was called " demander la mouissole," 
and was evidently derived from the practice, so common 
in all parts of Europe, of giving presents of eggs at this 
season. Mouissole is derived from the old Norman word 
mouisson, which means " a bird." 


* " In Sark, on Good Friday it is the custom for boys to go and sail small boats on the 
ponds or pools by the sea-shore; and these boats are made a good while beforehand, or 
treasured up of long standing; this custom they never fail to keep up. Numbers pf these 
same boys also go in the afternoon to the Eperquerie drill-ground, to play a game which 
they call rounders. It is played with a ball and a stick, and somewhat resembles cricket." 
From A Descriptive Sketch of the Island of Sark, by the Rev. J. L. V. Cachemaille (for 
many years Vicar of the island), published in Claike's Guernsey Magazine, October, 1875. 

t In the country the dinner on Easter Sunday ussd always to consist of fried eggs and 
bacon. As an old woman said, " it was the only day we ever tasted an egg." If they 
could not get fowls' eggs, they even got wild birds' eggs, and fried and ate them ! 

" In the North of England boys beg on Easter Eve eggs to play with, and beggars ask 
for them to eat." DJ Ludis Orientations, by Hyde, 1694. p. 237. 

" The custom of eating a gammon of bacon at Easter, which is kept up in many parts of 
England, was founded on this, viz., to shew their abhorrence to Judaism at that solemn 
commemoration of our Lord's Resurrection." Fro/n Aubrey, 1679. 



first rf 3tpriL 

The first of April is not forgotten by children, who 
amuse themselves on this day by attaching long shreds 
of paper or bits of rag by means of crooked pins to 
the clothes of passers-by,* and then crying out as 
loud as they can bawl, "La Cotie ! La Coue !" or " La 
Folle Agnes." No one knows the reason of the latter 

in JKag. 

On the first Sunday in May the young men and 
women of the lower orders arise at daybreak and 
sally forth into the country in groups, returning 
home with large nosegays generally pilfered from 
the open gardens that adorn the neat cottages of 
the peasantry.f 

There is reason to believe that this custom was 


* In Lancashire Folk-Lore p. 225, it say*, " On Mid-Lent or ' Bragot ' Sunday it is a 
custom for boys to hook a piece of coloured cloth to the women's gowns, and a similar 
custom prevails in Portugal at carnival times." 

+ " Bourne (' Antiquit. Vulg.' chap, xxv.) tells us that in his time, in the villages in the 
North of England, the juvenile part of both sexes were wont to rise a little after midnight 
on the first of May, and walk to some neighbouring wood, accompanied with music and the 
blowing of horns, where they broke down branches from the trees and adorned them with 
nosegays and crowns of flowers. This done, they returned homewards with their booty about 
the time of sunrise, and made their doors and windows triumph in the flowery spoil." (Quoted, 
jn Brand's Popular Antiquities, p. 121). 


introduced from England, but in Alderney it appears 
to have been a very ancient practice to keep the 
first of May as a holiday. Garlands of flowers were 
suspended across the street, under .which the young 
people danced, and the day was generally wound-up 
by a sort of pic-nic supper or tea-drinking, to which 
each family contributed its quota. The introduction 
of late years of a large stranger population into that 
island, in consequence of the extensive fortifications 
and harbour works undertaken by Government, has 
completely changed the primitive character of the 
place, and has put an end to this picturesque 


" And let us do it with no show of fear ; 
No, with no more than if we heard that England 
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance." 


Whit Monday, Midsummer Day, and the day on 
which Her Majesty's birth is celebrated, are all kept 
as holidays, and have long been appropriated to the 
mustering and exercising of the Militia. 

This institution differs in many respects from what 
goes by the same name in England, and is more in 
the nature of the " Garde Nationale " of France. It 
is of great antiquity, for we find among the Patent 
Eolls of Edward III., one dated May, 1337, 
appointing Thomas de Ferrers Governor of the Islands, 
and giving him directions to enrol all the able-bodied 
inhabitants, to supply them with fitting arms, and to 


place proper officers over them, in order that they 
might be able to resist the invasions of the allies of 
the Scotch, with whom England was then at war, and 
who had recently made some descents on Sark, and 
on the coasts of the larger islands. The service is 
gratuitous and compulsory, for, by the common law, 
all male inhabitants, from the ages of sixteen to sixty, 
are liable to be called out, unless prevented by illness, 
or able to claim exemption on some other legal ground. 
Nevertheless, with the generality of the people, especially 
with those of the rural parishes, the service is decidedly 
popular. An afternoon of ball-practice, or a general 
review by the Lieutenant-Governor, is looked forward 
to with pleasure, and the latter occasion is one which 
affords a treat to all classes of the community. At an 
early hour the roads are crowded with merry groups, 
dressed in their best, hastening to the spot where the 
review is to take place. The country damsels are 
proud of seeing their lovers set off by their military 
attire, and when the men are dismissed it is amusing 
to see the careful wife or the attentive sweetheart 
produce from the depth of her pocket, or from a 
hand-basket, a light cap, or wide-awake, to replace 
the heavy shako, while the young sons and brothers, 
not yet old enough to be enrolled, dispute who shall 
have the honour of bearing the weighty musket. The 
review is generally over by noon, and those who are 
industrious may return to their work. Most of the 
men, however, particularly the unmarried ones, prefer 
making a thorough holiday of it, and for the rest of 
the afternoon the streets of the town are filled with 
groups of merry-makers ; the public houses ply a brisk 
trade, and the evening is often far advanced before the 
joyous groups think of returning to their own homes. 



"At ovo last Midsummer no sleep I sought." Gay's Pastorals. 

The custom of making bonfires on the hilltops at 
Midsummer was formerly so general among all the 
Celtic nations that it is highly probable that it must 
have existed also in these islands, the aboriginal 
inhabitants of which belonged undoubtedly to the 
Celtic race. In Scotland and in Ireland these fires 
are called Beltein, or Baltein ; they are lighted also 
on May Day, and are supposed to be a relic of the 
worship formerly paid to the sun, under the name of 
Bel, or Baal. Throughout Brittany, and in some of 
the neighbouring parts of Normandy, " les feux de la 
St. Jean " are still lighted on all the hills. In some 
parts of Wales and Cornwall the custom is still kept 
up. That some observances connected with this season 
still existed in this island in the early part of the 17th 
Century is certain, from the fact of the Eoyal Court 
having promulgated an ordinance in 1622 prohibiting 
begging on St. John's Eve, " as tending to keep alive 
superstition," but what these observances were, is now 
entirely forgotten. It has been asserted that in days gone 
by "la Rocque Balan," a remarkable and picturesque 
mass of granite on the plain of L'Ancresse, used to be 
resorted to at Midsummer, and that the youths and 
maidens danced together on its summit, where bonfires 
used to be lit. The burden of an old song 

"J'irons tous a la Saint Jean 
" Dansai'r sus la Eocque Balan," 

is quoted as confirmatory of this assertion. Some suppose 


that " Balan " has the same derivation as " Beltein ; " 
others say that there was once a logan, or rocking 
stone, " une pierre qui balan^ait," on the apex of the 
rock ; but there is also a tradition that the former 
Priors of St. Michel du Yalle caused the merchandise 
of their tenants and vassals to be weighed, and that 
the rock derived its appellation from the " balances " 
used for this purpose. 

The most probable and matter of fact solution of 
the difficulty is that, like many other localities, it took 
its designation from the person to whom it once belonged, 
the name " Balan " being that of a family, now extinct, 
which at one time inhabited this parish. 

Every cottage and farmhouse in the island is furnished 
with what is called a "lit de fouaille " or "jonquiere" 
now called the "green bed" a sort of rustic divan 
generally placed in a recess between the hearth and a 
window. This, raised about eighteen inches from the 
ground, is thickly strewn w T ith dried fern, or pea-haulm, 
and forms the usual seat of the females of the family, 
when engaged in knitting or sewing, and a very 
comfortable couch on which the men can repose after 
the labours of the day. But at Midsummer, after the 
fresh fern has been cut, the taverns and cottages vie 
with each other in decorating these seats. A canopy 
is raised over them, and the whole, floor and all, is 
thickly carpeted with fresh cut fern, and ornamented 
with the most brilliant and showy flowers that can be 
procured, not scattered at hap-hazard, but arranged in 
formal, and often far from inelegant patterns.* The love 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * An old country woman described to me a "Lit de Fouaille" she had seen 
as a child. She described it as being- a four-post bed, both mattress and ceiling Leing one 
mass of floivers most ingeniously twined together. Each post was garlanded with flowers, and 
flower curtains hu:ig from the top, woven together, she could not tell how. In the middle sat 
the girl silent, 

D 2 


of flowers is almost a passion with every class of the 
inhabitants, and displays itself in the variety to be 
found at all seasons in every garden, and the taste 
with which they are employed in decorations. 

It is difficult to say what gave rise to this custom 
of adorning the "jonquiere," but it is doubtless one of 
great antiquity.* Old people say that in former days it 
was customary to elect a girl from among the inhabitants 
of the district, and seat her in state beneath the floral 
canopy, where under the namef of " La Morne " she 
received in silence the homage of the assembled guests. J 

* See Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. I, Pp. 297 and 301. 

t Mr. Metivier writes under the heading of " Lit de Fouaille. " " Que de 
gens instruits, peu verses dans 1'etude de notre Calendrier Champetre, se sont 
imagines que le lit de feuilles et de fleurs du solstice d'ete fete aussi ancienne 
que 1'homme lui-meme, n'etait qu'un lit vert une jonquiere ! L'apotheose de la 
beaute sur un trone de roses et de lys se retrouvait autrefois dans tous les climats, 
ou le soleil favorisait la culture de ces tresors de Flore. Presque de nos jours, 
chaque canton de 1'ile elis.ut une tante ou cousine. Vouee au silence ' La 
Mome ; ' et cette bonne parents recevait da toute la compagnie I'homrnage d'un 
baiser-c'est une allusion au silence de 1'astre du jour et a la naissance d'Harpocrate, 
le doigt sur la bouche, au milieu d'un carreau de vives fleurs." 


i By the courtesy of Mr. J. Linwood Pitts I am able to insert the following note, showing the 
gradual decadence of the old custom. 

" Some sixty or seventy years ago, a Mr. and Mrs. Le Maitre kept a public-house at Le 
Cognon, near St. Sampson's. At the summer vraicking time, they used to deck the green bed 
with elaborate floral decorations a veritable " Licit de feuilles." A plate was placed in the 
centre of the bed to receive contributions. The young people used to go there and dance in the 
evenings after vraicking, Mr. Le Maitre playing the fiddle for the dancers. Mrs. Robin (now 
seventy-three years old) danced there as a girl." 

Stow in his " Survey " tells us " that on the vigil of St. John Baptist every man's door being 
shadowed with green birch, long fennel, St. John's wort, orpin, white lilies, and such like, 
garnished upon with garlands of beautiful flowers, had also lamps of glass. ..." 

In " Brand's Pjpular Antiquities of Great Britain. Vol. I. p. 190, it is said : " Hutchinson 
mentions another custom used on this day ; it is " to dress out stools with a cushion of flowers. 
A layer of clay is placed on the stool, and therein is stuck with great regularity, an arrangement 
of all kinds of flowers, so close as to form a beautiful cushion. These are exhibited at the 
doors of houses in the villages, and at the ends of streets and cross lanes of larger towns, 
where the attendants beg money from passengers to enable them to have an evening feast 
and dancing." He adds " This custom is evidently derived from the Ludi Compitalii of the 
Romans ; this appellation is taken from the Compita or Cross Lanes, where they were 
instituted and celebrated by the multitude assembled before the building of Rome. It was the 
Feast of Lares, or Household Gods, who presided as well over houses as streets. This mode of 
adorning the seat or couch of the Lares was beautiful, and the idea of reposing them on 
aromatic flowers, and beds of roses, was excellent," 


Perhaps the whole is a remnant of the old May games 
transferred to this season perhaps it is an observance 
connected with the ceremonies with which in many 
countries, and especially among the Celtic nations, the 
sun was greeted on his arrival at the summer solstice, 
and in which branches of trees and bunches of flowers 
were used to decorate the houses. 

Dag in JlarL 

In Sark, Midsummer Day is the great holiday of the 
year, when every youth who is fortunate enough to 
be the possessor of a horse, or who can borrow one 
for the occasion, makes use of it. Bedecking both 
himself and his steed with bunches of flowers, he goes 
to seek his favourite damsel, who generally sports a 
new bonnet in honour of the festival, and they often 
ride about in couples on the horses' backs. They then 
amuse themselves in racing up and down the roads, 
and even venture sometimes to cross at a gallop the 
dangerous pass of the Coupee a narrow ledge of rock 
with a precipice on either side, which connects the 
peninsula of Little Sark with the main island. In the 
evening they assemble to drink tea, eat currant cake, 
and dance. This custom is known by the name of 
" Les Chevauchees." 

EDITOR'S NOTH. Many charms and spells were also resorted to on the eve and on the day of 
" La Saint Jean," which will be inserted under their proper heading. Another habit of the 
young men and girls on Midsummer Day was to go out to the Grand Pont at St. Sampson's, 
and there have a supper composed of fried ham and eggs and pancakes, and craubackaus or 
crayfish, the latter placed on the table in the pan, and everyone helping themselves with their 
own fork. The custom was for the girls to be dressed entirely in white, while the men wore 
white duck or jean trousers, swallow-tailed coats, fancy waistcoats, and shoes adorned with large 
white bows. The proceedings finished with songs and dances. 


In Jersey, the fishermen who inhabit the parish of 
St. John have a custom of circumnavigating at 
Midsummer a certain rock, called " Le Cheval 
G-uillaume," that lies off their coast, and in the same 
parish, as well as in some other parts of the island, 
a very singular practice has long prevailed. It 
is thus described in Plees' Account of the Island of 
Jersey. " At Midsummer Eve, a number of persons 
meet together, and procure a large brass boiler ; this 
is partly filled with water, and sometimes metallic 
utensils of different kinds are thrown in. The rim is 
then encircled with a strong species of rush, to which 
strings of the same substance are attached. When 
these strings are sufficiently moistened, the persons 
assembled take hold of them, and, drawing them 
quickly through their hands, a tremendous vibration is 
excited in the boiler, and a most barbarous, uncouth, 
and melancholy sound produced. To render this grating 
concert still more dissonant, others blow with cows' 
horns and conches. This singular species of amuse- 
ment continues for several hours : it is termed ' faire 
braire les poeles.' The same custom prevailed in 
Normandy, from whence it doubtless made its way 
into Jersey. In the former province it is now on the 
decline. Being observed on St. John's Eve, it would 
appear to have a reference to some Christian festival 
in honour of that saint ; or it may relate to Midsummer 
Day. Large numbers of the middling and lower classes 
in Jersey are in the habit of coming to Guernsey for 


the Midsummer holidays, and the natives of the latter 
island often choose this season for visiting their friends 
and relations in Jersey. In the AtliencBum, September 
20th, 1890, it says : "It may not be generally known 
that in the island of Jersey on St. John's Eve the older 
inhabitants used to light fires under large iron pots full 
of water, in which they placed silver articles as spoons, 
mugs, etc., and then knocked the silver against the 
iron, with the idea of scaring away all evil spirits. 
There are now railroads in Jersey, and these old-world 
practices have probably disappeared." 

The day after Midsummer used always to be the day 
of the fair, held in the Fair-field at the Catel. It was 
crowded from the early morning by the entire population 
of the island, and the hedges round the field, and even 
the sides of the roads in the vicinity, were filled with 
French women, selling strawberries, and eggs dyed red 
with cochineal, and who drove a roaring trade. 

On the Sundays in August it was customary, a few 
years ago, for large crowds from all parts of the island 
to assemble in the afternoon on the causeway at 
St. Sampson's called " Le Grand Pont." The favourite 
mode of proceeding thither was on horseback, but the 
only object that the visitors seemed to have in view 
was that of seeing and being seen. It is difficult to 
ascertain- exactly what gave rise to this custom, or 
indeed whether it is of ancient date. It is certain, 
however, that the improvement of the roads at the 


commencement of the present century, and the works 
carried on at the same time for the recovery of a large 
portion of land from the sea, in this neighbourhood, 
concurred in attracting a considerable number of persons 
to the spot. If the custom existed previously it must 
have been one of old standing, and may perhaps be 
traced to a church wake or feast held in honour of 
St. Sampson, who is said to have been among the first 
who preached the gospel in the island, and whose 
name the neighbouring church bears. The calendar 
commemorates this saint on the 28th of July, and the 
practice of meeting together on the Sunday following 
the anniversary of a saint, in the vicinity of the church 
or chapel dedicated to him, is universal throughout 
Brittany, where these assemblies are known by the 
name of " pardons." In some parts of Normandy, too, 
the custom is observed, and the meetings are known 
as " Assemblies." If not held on, or near, the actual 
anniversary of the saint, they are often fixed for some 
Sunday in August, when, the harvest being over, the 
peasants have more leisure time for amusements.* 

On the Sundays in September it was the custom, 
at any rate in the early part of this century, to ride 
out to the " Maison du Neuf Chemin," at St. Saviour's, 

* EDITOR'S NOTF." In the southern parts of this nation," says Rourne, " most country villages 
are wont to observe some Sunday in a more particular manner than the rest, i.e., the Sunday 
after the day of dedication, or day of the saint to whom their church was dedicated." Antiq. 
Vulg-, chap. xxx. 


Maison du Netif Chemin. 



which was kept by a inan called Alexandre. There 
they would eat pancakes, apples and pears, and not 
come home till dusk. This is the " Mess Alissandre " 
to whom Metivier alludes in " La Chanson des 
Alexandriens," " Eimes Guernesiaises," 1831, p. 52. 

" Vouloils 2Kissai'r dans I'pu bel endrct d'l'ile 

" Une a' rlevaie sans paine et sans chagrin ! 

" Tournai mi I'dos 6s sales pavais d'la ville, 

" Et galoppai sie houme du Neuf-Ch'min, etc. 


" Do you wish to go to the most beautiful neighbourhood of the island 
One afternoon without difficulty or trouble ? 
Turn your back on the dirty pavements of the town, 
And gallop out to the old man of the New Path." 


10tal Customs Citrir, Juptatir, 

" Ordain them laws, part such as appertain 
To civil justice, part religious rites." 


la CljJlmndjw to t. JEitfoi 

" My parks, my walks, my manors that I had, 
Ev'n now forsake me ; and of all my lands 
Is nothing left me." 

Shakspeare, Henry VI. 

giving an account of this curious old 
custom, now abolished, but which seems to 
have been instituted originally with a view 
to keeping the highways throughout the island in a 
due state of repair, it may be as well to say something 
of the feudal system, as it existed, and indeed, greatly 
modified of course, still exists in Guernsey. Though, 
from the loss in the course of many centuries of the 
original charters, we are left in the dark on many 
points, and can only guess at the origin of some of 
the many small manors or as they are locally termed, 
"fiefs" into which the island is divided. 


It is known that previous to the Conquest of England 
by Duke William,* Neel de St. Sauveur, Yicomte of Le 
Cotentin, was patron of six of the ten parish churches 
in Guernsey those of St. Samson, St. Pierre Port, St. 
Martin de la Bellouse, La Trinite de la Foret, Notre 
Dame de Torteval, and St. Andre ; and it is probable 
that he was lord paramount of all the land contained 
in these parishes. He was one of those barons who 
conspired against William, and having been defeated 
by him in the Battle of Val des Dunes, all his possessions 
were confiscated. On his submission he was again 
received into favour, and his continental possessions 
restored, but such does not seem to have been the case 
with what he held in Guernsey ; for the patronage of 
the churches mentioned above was given by William, 
a year before the Conquest of England, to the great 
Abbey of Marmoutier near Tours ; and from that time 
we hear nothing more of the Viscounts of St. Sauveur 
in Guernsey. 

The other four parishes, St. Michel du Yalle, Notre 
Dame du Castel, St. Sauveur, and St. Pierre du Bois, 
were in the patronage of the Abbey of Mont St. Michel, 
and the lands in the greater part of these parishes 
were held in nearly equal proportions between that 
famous Monastery and the Earls of Chester those 
held by the Abbey being known as " Le Fief St. 
Michel," and those belonging to the Earl being called 
" Le Fief le Comte." A local tradition says that it 
was Duke Eobert, the father of William the Conqueror, 

* " There were two Nigels (Neel or Niel), Viscounts of Cotentin, and .proprietors 
of St. Sauveur le Vicomtc. I have reference to those two charters, the perusal 
of which exalts conjectures into genuine facts It is highly gratifying to possess, 
at last, extracts from the authentic charters of Robert I. and William II, granted 
to St. Michel and St. Martin of Tours." Extract from MS. letter from George 
Metivier to Sir Edgar MacCulloch, Nov. 1846. 


who first bestowed these lands on the Abbey, and on the 
ancestors of the Earls, but of this there may be some 

These lands were held direct from the Sovereign, to 
whom these lords were bound to do homage, but in 
process of time they came to be sub-fieffed by their 
possessors that is, divided into smaller manors, which, 
instead of owing direct allegiance to the Crown, depended 
on their own lords, to whom they had certain services to 
render, and dues to pay, and in whose Courts they were 
bound to make an appearance thrice in the year. These 
Courts had jurisdiction in civil matters, in causes arising 
between the tenants on their respective fiefs, and had 
their seals, by which all written documents emanating 
from them were authenticated, the seals of the Court 
of the Priory of St. Michel representing the Archangel 
trampling Satan under foot, and that of the Fief le 
Comte, St. George, near whose ruined chapel the Court 
still holds its sittings. As there was always an appeal 
from the decision of these Courts to the supreme tribunal 
of the island, the Royal Court, they gradually ceased to 
be held, except for the purpose of collecting the seignorial 
dues, and, by an Order of Her Majesty in Council, the 
Court of the Fief St. Michel was abolished, the life 
interest of the seneschal, vavassors, prevots, bordiers, 
and other officers of the Court being preserved. 

One of the duties of the Court of St. Michel was to 
see that the King's highway (le chemin du Koi), and 
certain embankments against the encroachments of the 
sea were kept in proper order and in due reparation; 
and in order to insure this they were bound to make 
an inspection once in three years. 

We will now go back and consider the origin of the 
Fief St. Michel. Among the many fiefs in Guernsey, 


held in chief from the Crown, one of the most ancient 
and important is certainly that of St. Michel-du-Valle, 
extending over the greater part of the northern and 
western shores of the island. According to a tradition 
generally accepted by the historians of the island, and 
which is in part corroborated by documentary evidence, 
preserved in the " cartulaires " of the famous Abbey of 
Mont St. Michel in Normandy, and in the Eecord Office 
in England, certain monks who had been expelled 
from that monastery for their irregularities, or had left 
voluntarily in consequence of reforms in the community 
which they disapproved of, came over to Guernsey 
about the year 966 and established themselves in a 
part of the island called Le Clos du Valle, which at that 
period, and until the beginning of the present century, 
was cut off from the mainland by an arm of the sea, 
and could only be reached by a way across the sands 
when the tide had receded. The monks are said to 
have brought the whole of the western part of the 
island into cultivation, and to have led such a pious 
life, and effected such a reform in the manners of the 
inhabitants, that Guernsey acquired the appellation of 
"Tile sainte."* f 

* According to Mr. Metivier Guernsey was called " Holy Island " in the days 
of a learned Greek called " Sylla," the friend of Plutarch's grandfather, and he 
says "that it was the custom for persons to go from the ' ogygiau " (Gallic or 
Breton) Islands, to Delos every century, which means every thirty years. The 
voyagers also visited the temple of Dodona ; and on their retuin from Delos 
" the sacred navigators were conducted by the winds to the Isle of Saturn or 
Sacred Island (Guernsey), which was peopled entirely by themselves and their 
predecessors ; for although they were by their laws permitted to return after having 
served Saturn thirty years, which was the century of the Druids, yet they frequently 

EDITOR'S NOTE. + M. de Gerville denies the truth of this tradition. See >jcttment$ Inedits 
iu Moyen Age, relatifs aux lies dif. Cotentin, p. 16, 


It is also said that Eobert I., Duke of Normandy, 
father of William the Conqueror, called by some Le 
Magnifique and by others Le Diable, having been driven 
by stress of weather to take refuge in Guernsey, when 
on his way to England with a fleet to assist the Saxon 
Princes Alfred and Edward in their resistance to the 
Danish invader Canute, was received and hospitably 
entertained by the monks, and in return confirmed them 
in the possession of the lands they had been the means 
of reclaiming, at the same time constituting the 
community a priory in dependance on the great 
monastery from which they had originally come ; 
a connexion, which although frequently interrupted 
during the long wars between England and France 
for the possession of Normandy, existed until the 
suppression of alien priories in England by Henry V. 

Like all other fiefs the priory had its own Feudal 
Court, by means of which it collected its rents and 
dues, and which had jurisdiction in civil matters 
between all its tenants, subject, however, to an 

preferred remaining in the tranquil retirement of this island to returning to their 
birth-places," Demetrius, also, says : " Among the islands which lie adjacent to 
Britain, some are desert, known by the name of the Isles of Heroes. ... I 
embarked in the suite of the Emperor, who was about to visit the nearest of them. 
We found thereon but few inhabitants, and these were accounted sacred and 
inviolable." Mr. Metivier goes on to say later " Ono Maeritus, an author who 
flourished five hundred years B.C., in one of his poems speaks of a vessel that 
conveyed the ashes of the dead between England and Spain, and a celebrated 
Greek author of undoubted veracity, Procopius, who wrote about 547 A.D., 
states that the " Breton fishermen of an island subject to the French, were 
exempt from all tiibute, because they conveyed the dead into a neighbouring 
island." The Breton French fishermen came from Jersey, " La Porte Sainte," 
and terminated their funeral voyage at Guernsey, " 1'Ile Bienheureuse." The 
ashes of the dead were deposited in our croutes and sacred enclosures, within 
the tombs composed of five horizontal stones, which number indicated the 
resting places of knightly heroes, or noble Gauls," Metivier in the Monthly 
Selection, 1825, pp. 327 and 452. 


appeal to the higher authority of the Eoyal Court of 
the island. 

The Court of St. Michel-du-Valle consisted of a 
seneschal and eleven vavassors, who, in virtue of their 
office and in consideration of their services, held certain 
lands on the fief. The officers of the Court were a 
greffier or registrar, four prev6ts, who had duties 
analagous to those of a sheriff, six bordiers, who had 
certain services to perform in collecting dues and 
attending the meetings of the Court, and, though last, 
not least, an officer styled porte-lance of whom more 
hereafter. The principal duties of the Court seem to 
have consisted in legalizing sales of real property, in 
which tenants on the fief were interested, and settling 
disputes concerning the same arising among them. But 
there appear to have been attempts made from time 
to time to encroach on the prerogatives of the Eoyal 
Court, and various ordinances of the latter are in 
existence restraining the seneschal and vavassors from 
doing certain acts, and even fining them for having 
gone beyond their powers. There was one function, 
however, of the Court of St. Michael which it seems to 
have exercised without dispute from time immemorial, 
but which it is impossible to account for the inspection 
and keeping in order of the King's highway throughout 
the island, and of certain of the works for preventing 
the encroachments of the sea. Possibly it may have 
originated in marking out the bounds of the Fief St. 
Michel and its dependencies only, and with this keeping 
in order the sea defences.* Once in three years, the 
seneschal and vavassors of the Court were bound to 
perform this duty, which, judging from their later 

* See Gentleman's Magazine Library, Social Manners and Customs. P. 51, 
Beating of Bounds at Grimsby. 


records, they appear to have considered rather onerous, 
as we find several Acts of the Court dispensing with 
the ceremony, the reason given being generally the 
interruption it caused in agricultural labours, and the 
loss occasioned thereby, at a time when farmers were 
far from being in the prosperous condition in which 
they are at present. 

Another very substantial reason was the expense, 
which had to be defrayed out of the Crown revenue. 
According to some of our historians, who, however, 
give no evidence in support of their assertion, this 
inspection of the roads, commonly known as " La 
Chevauchee" from the fact of the principal performers 
being mounted on horseback, was originally annual, 
and was instituted with a view to having the roads put 
in order preparatory to the grand religious procession 
of the Host on Corpus Christi Day, but this origin 
of the ceremony seems hardly probable, as it is well 
known that the procession in question is strictly limited 
in Eoman Catholic countries to parishes, and is 
conducted by the parochial clergy. It is difficult to 
understand how it came to pass that a subaltern Court, 
such as was that of the Fief St. Michel, came to be 
allowed to exercise a quasi jurisdiction over lands 
which had never been subject to it, but as it was 
impossible for the Court to proceed to every part of 
their domain without occasionally trespassing over 
other manors, what was originally allowed by courtesy 
came to be looked upon at last as a right. A somewhat 
similar means of assuring the keeping in due repair of 
the high roads existed, and probably in a modified form 
still exists, in the sister island of Jersey, where it is 
conducted by the vicomte, assisted by two or more 
jurats of the Royal Court, and the officer, called the 



11 porte-lance," who exercises the same functions as 
the official bearing the same designation in the " Cour 
St. Michel." It is known in Jersey as " La Harelle." 

But it is time to come to a description of how this 
ancient ceremony was conducted in Guernsey. As has 
been said before, it ought to have taken place every 
third year, at which time the Court of St. Michael 
used to meet in the spring to settle preliminaries in 
fixing the day on which the ceremony was to take 
place, regulating the costume to be worn by the 
"pions" or footmen in attendance on the Court, and 
other matters. The month of June was usually chosen, 
and on the day appointed the Court assembled, with 
all the officers who were to take part in the procession, 
at the small Court House adjoining the remains of the 
ancient monastic buildings still dignified with the name 
of "L'Abbaye," although the establishment had been 
for centuries no more than a priory dependent on the 
famous monastery of Mont St. Michel in Normandy. 

The following are translations of a few of the Acts 
and Eegulations of the Court of St. Michael : * 

31 March, 1768. Seneschal nominated by the 

24 May, 1768. The Chevauchee being due to take 
place on the following 8th of June, the Court has 
ruled the dress of the pions. A black cap (calotte) 
with a red ribbon at the back. A ruffled shirt, with 
black ribbon wristbands, and a black ribbon round 
the neck. Black breeches with red ribbons tied round 
the knee. White stockings ; and red rosettes on their 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* On the 2/th April, 1533. The Court of St. Michel du Valle ordered that the 
King's Serjeant should " cry in the Market Place for three Saturdays that the Chevauchee 
would take place in the following month of May." Fief Le Cumtc MSS. copied by Colonel 
J. H. C. Carey, 


wands. N.B. This Act does not seem to have been 
put in force. 

27th April, 1813. The Chevauchee of His Majesty is 
appointed to take place on Wednesday, the 9th of the 
following June, for the reparation of the quays and roads 
of the King, and it is ordered that it shall be published 
throughout the parishes of this island, and cried in the 
Market Place, so that no one can plead ignorance. 

The 27th of May, 1813. Before Thomas Falla, Esq., 
Seneschal of the Court and Jurisdiction of the Fief St. 
Michel, present, Messieurs James Ozanne, Nicholas Le 
Patourel, James Falla, Pierre Falla, Jean Many, Eichard 
Ozanne, Nicholas Moullin, Daniel Moullin, and Jean Le 
Pettevin (called Le Koux), vavassors of the said Court. 
The Court being to-day assembled to regulate the 
order to be pursued on Wednesday, the 9th of June 
proximo, the day appointed by the Court for the 
Chevauchee of His Majesty to pass has ordered that 
all the pions be dressed uniformly as follows, to wit : 
Black caps with a red ribbon behind. White shirts, 
with white cravats or neckerchiefs. Circular white 
waistcoats, with a red ribbon border. Long white 
breeches, tied with red ribbon round the knee. White 
stockings, and red rosettes on their wands. 

And Messieurs les prevots of the Court are ordered 
to warn all those who are obliged to assist at the said 
Chevauchee to find themselves with their swords, their 
pions, and their horses, the aforesaid 9th of June at 
seven o'clock in the morning at the Court of St. 
Michael, according to ancient custom, in default of 
appearance to be subject to such penalties as it shall 
please the Court to award him. And also shall Monsieur 
Le Gouverneur be duly warned, and Thomas Falla, Esq., 
seneschal, and Messrs. Jean Mahy and Nicholas Moullin, 

E 2 


vavassors, are nominated by the Court to form a 
committee so as to take the necessary measures to 
regulate the conformity of the said act concerning the 
dress of the pions. (gigned) JEAN OZANNE) Greffier 

On the above day, conformably to the said Act, all 
the pions, dressed in the afore-mentioned costume, met 
at seven o'clock in the morning at the Court of St. 
Michael, and there also were found the King's officers, 
vavassors, who had to serve there as esquires. The 
King's officers and the seneschal each had two pions 
on either side of his bridle rein, the vavassors were 
only entitled to one. 

They began with a short inspection and a good 
breakfast on the emplacement east of the Yale Church. 
After breakfast, the members of the cortege, with their 
swords at their sides, got on their horses opposite the 
said Court of St. Michael, where the greffier of the said 
Court said the customary prayer, and the seneschal 
read the proclamation, and then they started in the 
following order : 

The Sheriff of the Yale and his pion. 

The Sheriff of the King and his two pions. 

The Sheriff of the Grand Moiitier and his pion. 

The Sheriff of the Petit Moutier and his pion. 

The Sheriff of Kozel and his pion. 

The King's Sergeant and his two pions. 

The King's Greffier and his two pions. 

The King's Comptroller and his two pions. 

The King's Procureur and his two pions. 

The King's Receiver and his two pions. 

The Lance-Bearer and his two pions. 

The Greffier of the Court St. Michel and his two pions. 

The Seneschal of the Court St, Michel and his two pions, 


The eleven vavassors of the Court St. Michel, and 
one pion each. 

Whilst they are on their march, the five sheriffs 
carry by turns a white wand in the following 
order : 

The Sheriff of the Vale, from the Vale Church to 
the end of Grand Pont. 

The King's Sheriff, from the end of Grand Pont, as 
far as the Forest. 

The Sheriff of Grand Moutier, from the Forest to 
the King's Mills. 

The Sheriff of Petit Moutier, from the King's Mills 
to the Douit des Landes in the Market Place, and the 
Sheriff of Eozel from the last mentioned place to the 

During the procession the lance bearer carried a 
wand of eleven and a quarter feet long, and any 
obstacle this wand encountered, stones of walls, 
branches of trees, etc., had to be cleared away, and 
the proprietor of the obstacle was fined thirty sous, 
which went towards the expenses of the dinner. From 
time immemorial the privilege of the pions, who were 
chosen for their good looks was that of kissing every 
woman they met, whether gentle or simple, their only 
restriction being that only one pion was allowed to 
kiss the same lady, she had not to run the gauntlet 
of the gang. This privilege of course was invariably 
exercised ! 

At the entry of the Braye da Valle the seneschal 
freed the pions from their attendance on the bridle 
reins, and gave them authority to embrace any woman 
they might encounter, recommending good behaviour 
and the rejoining of their cavaliers at the Hougue- 



Parish Chtirch of St. Peter Port. 
Showing houses demolished to make room for present New Market. 


The Chevauchee then went to Sohier, les Landes, la 
rue du Marais, la Grande Eue, la Mare Sansonnet, 
les Bordages, la Ronde Cheminee, and les Morets. 
Arriving at the Hougue-a-la-Perre the pions regained 
their respective stations on the side of their officers, 
leading the horses, and there, at ten o'clock, they were 
met by His Excellency Sir John Doyle, the Lieutenant- 
Governor and his staff, the horses of which were all 
decorated with blue ribbons, except those of the said 
Governor and of his family, who, out of compliment, 
carried red ribbons, matching those of the Chevauchee. 
The Bailiff, with his party and John Guille, Esq., also 
joined them at this spot, uniformly dressed in blue 
jackets, white trousers, and leghorn hats. 

The whole cavalcade then moved on, the Governor 

and suite at the rear, preceded by the band of the town 
regiment, dressed as rustics, in long white jackets and 
large hats with their brims turned down, and followed 
by six dragoons to bring up the rear. Having passed 
between eleven and twelve o'clock through Glatney, 
Pollet, Carrefour, and High-street, they came to the 
Town Church, where they made the tour around a large 
round table which had been placed near the westerly 
door of the said church, which table was covered with 
a white cloth and supplied with biscuits, cheese, and 
wine, which had been provided by one of the " sous- 
prevots," and the Sheriff and the King's Sergeant, on 
foot, offered each cavalier who passed the door food 
and drink. 

During this interval the band played serenades and 

At noon they proceeded through Berthelot-street to 
the College fields, and, passing through the Grange, 
they reached the Gravee ; here His Excellency took 


his leave. The cavalcade passed on by St. Martin's 
road to the ancient manor of Ville-au-Eoi, one of the 
oldest habitations in the island. The entrance was 
tastefully decorated with arches of flowers and a crown 
in the centre, with flags flying, and, on one of the 
arches, " Vive la Chevauchee." Here, according to old 
manorial custom, the party was gratuitously regaled 
with milk. The procession then moved on by Les 
Caches to Jerbourg, with the exception of the pions, 
who proceeded to the village of the Forest, and there 
waited the return of the Court. Here they danced 
and amused themselves as before, and being rejoined 
by the cavalcade at the Bourg they moved on by Les 
Brulliots, and passing Torteval Church arrived at a 
house called the Chateau des Pezeries at Pleinmont, 
where a marquee was erected, and cold meats and 
wine were prepared for the gentlemen. The pions were 
seated on the grass in a circle which had been 
hollowed for them, in the shape of a round table,* 
and they also had their repast. Here the procession 
halted till four o'clock, and by this time were joined 
by many carriages, filled with ladies and gentlemen, 
who, with a numerous party of all ranks, moved on 
by Eocquaine, Eoque Poisson, below the Eouvets, 

* As being of the same race and language as Wace, Walter Map and 
Chrestien de Troyes, who were the first to collect and write of the Arthurian 
legends, or, as they are gen?rally spoken of by French writers " Les Epopees de 
la Table Ronde" it might reasonably be expected that some traces of these old 
" romans " that must have so influenced our forefathers should linger among 
us. This " round table " so carefully hollowed out for the pions may be a 
relic of " La Table Ronde," of which Wace writes 

" Fist Artus la Roonde Table 

" Dont Bretons dient raainte fable." 

He goes on to say that Arthur instituted this Round Table in times of peace, 
for his feudal retainers, so that none might consider himself superior to his 
fellow knights and squires, for at such a table all must be equal. 


Perelle, where a particular stone lies, which they are 
obliged to go round according to an old custom, from 
there by the Saint Saviour's Road to the Grands 
Moulins or King's Mills. On their arrival there they 
were rejoined by the pions, the mill was put in 
motion, and the miller came out with a plate in 
each hand, one containing flour of wheat, and the 
other of barley, which had been ground that instant 
by the mill. The miller then placed himself on a 
large stone, and the procession moved round him ; 
this custom has prevailed from time immemorial. The 
procession then continued by St. George, La Haye du 
Puits, Saumarez, Le Camp du Roy, Les Salines, to 
the Clos du Valle, to the aforesaid Court of St. 
Michael, where they arrived about seven o'clock, and 
where they w r ere again joined by the Lieutenant- 
Governor, the Bailiff, and some of the principal 
residents. The Court having been dismissed they all 
partook of a sumptuous dinner, at which Mr. Seneschal 
Falla presided. The pions were also handsomely 

The last Chevauchee took place in Guernsey on the 
31st of May, 1837, but the description of the procession 
we have given refers to the one in 1825, and is taken 
from Jacob's Annals, and the Chronique des Isles, by 

The oldest known Act of the Court of St. Michael 
is the following, dated the 14th of October, 1204 : 

" Les Chefs Plaids Capitaux de la Saint Michel 
tenus a Sainte Anne en la Paroisse du Sarazin,* par 
Nicolle de Beauvoir Bailly, a ce presens Jean Le 

* Now called the Catel, and the Church of the said Parish is traditionally 
built on the Castle formerly inhabited by " Le Grand Sarazin," and it was 
there or thereabouts that the Royal Court used to sit. 


Feyvre, Jean Philippes, Martin de Garris, Jean Maingy, 
Jean Le Gros, Jemrnes le Marchand, Pierre de la 
Lande, Robert de la Salle, Colin Henry, Jurez de la 
Cour de nostre Souverain Seigneur le Eoy d'Angleterre 
en I'lsle de Guernereye. Le quatorzieme jour du 
moys d'Octobre, 1'an MCCIV. Sur la Remonstrance qui 
nous a este faicte de la part des Freres Jean Agenor, 
Prieur, en la Paroisse de 1'Archange de Saint Michel 
du Valle et ses aliez Pierre de Beauvoir, Pierre Martin, 
Jean Effart, Jean Jehan, Pierre Nicolle, Pierre du 
Prey, Jean Agenor, Michel le Pelley, Jean Cappelle 
et autres Marchands et Manans, tant en la Paroisse 
du Valle que de Saint Sampson, qu'ils estoyent 
grandement empeschez et endomagez concernant le 
desbordement de la mer, laquelle auroit coupe le 
Douvre et passage commode entre les dittes Paroisses, 
entendu qu'il estoit impossible non seulement de faire 
Procession, mais aussi d'aller traficquer les uns avec 
les autres aux Landes du Sarazin, s'il ne nous 
pleust leur permettre et accorder de faire maintenir 
un certain Pont passant du Valle a Saint Sampson, 
estant propre et passable de toutes Marees, de 
Charues, et Charettes, de pied et de Cheval, et a 
qui il appartiendra de la maintenir en temps advenir. 
Parquoy ne voulant refuser la Raisonnable remonstrance 
des avants dits, et pour le bien public, nous leur avons 
appointe Veue sur les Limites les plus celebres des dittes 
Paroisses, dans le jour Saint Barthelemi prochain, et 
advertiront le corumun de s'y trouver, pour ouir ce que 
par nous sera ordonne touchant la ditte edification." 

Another copy, which differs from the preceding in 
the names of the Jurats, finishes by these words, " donne 
par copie des roles, signe par Colin de la Lande, clerq." 
According to this copy the names of the Jurats are 


" Jean Le Gros, James Le Marchant, Pierre de la Lande, 
Eobert de la Salle, Colin Henry, Kaoul Emery, Gaultier 
Bloiidel, Guillet Le Febvre." It is noticeable that the 
first four names of the copy first cited are not among 
these, and that the last three on this list are not in 
the Act which we have transcribed, f At the end of the 
second copy we find the following notice : " N.B. Mr. 
Thomas Le Maitre, Prevost de St. Sauveur a Jersey en 
a 1'original." 

Originally the vavassors* of the Court of St. Michael 
were twelve in number, similar to the Jurats of the 
Eoyal Court, but if you ask why the number for the 


The titles of the eleven vavasseurs are : (i) Girvaise (2) Capelle (3) Soulaire (4) Maresq 
(5) Grent Maison (6) Garis (7) BShon (8) Agenor (9) Piqunmie 10 (Le Moye (n) Houet. 
The titles of the sergeants : (i) GailloU (2) Bordier Paisson (3) de la Lande (4) Roques des 
Roques (5) Bourg (61 1'Ange. The titles of the bordiers : (i) Bequerel (2) Rebour 
(3) Renost (4) Ricard (5) Nant (6) Salmon (7) Infart (8) Scarabie. 

tl will here adl a copy of tha oil ord3rs issusd by the Cour de St. Michel in 1668, and 
copied from those issued in 1439. Jt is taken word for word from a manuscript lent me by 
Colonel J. H. Carteret Carey, except that in places I have written in full words which 
are abreviated in the original MSS., such as " par ". for " P," " Prevost " for " puost," 
"present" for " pnt," que " for " q," " comme " for " coe," "parties" for " pties," 
" Jour " for " Jo r ," etc., etc. : 

" & ^"S w ctl?c quy ces presenter lettres verront ou orront Denis Le Marchant, 
Senechal de la Cour de la prieurete de St. Michel du Val en 1'Isle de Guernesey Salut 
comme ainsy soil que Martin Sauvary, comme procureur et attourne des vavasseurs, 
Sergeans, bordiers, et autres officiers, de la dite Cour acteurs d'une partie eussent fait 
semondre et convenir pardevant nous en ladite Cour John phylippe recepveur pour lors de 
la dite Isle de Guernesey et de ladite prieurete du Valle pour tres hault et tres puissant 
prince Mon Seigneur Le Due de Glocester, Seigneur des Isles, et possesseur adonques de 
toutes les rentes et revenues quelconques appartenants a la dite prieurete en ladite Isle, 
deffenseur d'autre partie Lequel attourne que dit est eust declare et demande adonques a 
1'avant dit deffenseur comment iceluy deffenseur recepveur comme dit est deubt bailler trouuer 
et deliurer les debuoirs et deuteys appartenants es dits Officiers de la dite Cour. C'est a 
ssavoir de temps en temps et toutefois et quantes qu'il leur appartient de droit et de raison. 
Scauoir est les 3 'disners par chacun a chascun des plaids Cappitaulx de ladite cour. C'est 
a scauoir a la feste St. Michel, a Noel, ct a pasques. Item leurs disners toutes fois et quantes 
que par le dit recepveur seront requis et contraints d'aller reuisiter les Keys de la Coste de 
la mer et le cours des eaux et que eux en feroient leur debvoir comment de droit et de 
raison il appartient a leurs offices. Item toutes fois et quantes que les dits vavasseurs, 
leurs valets, et seruans et les autres Sergeants et officiers a qu'il appartient iroient en che- 
vauchee pour reuisiter en ladite Isle leurs debvoirs semblablement C'est a ssavoir quant eux se 
sont representes deuant la porte de la dite prieurete et eux doiuent monter a cheval eux 
doivent auoir du pain et du vin abondammvnt et honestement seruis Item pareillement eux 
doivcnt estre seruis et administrer de pain et de vin par la main du prevost de mon dit seigneur 
deuant la porte de 1'eglise de St. pierre port lequel prcuost doit estre present a la dite chevau- 
chee ; et doit estre illeques une ronde table mise fournie et garnie bien et honnestement de 
doublier, pain et vin es coustages de mon dit Seigneur. Item quant eux seront arrives es 
portes dc plcinmont eux doiu -ut auoir du pair et a buiru et quant eux seront retourm z a la dite 


last two hundred years has been reduced to eleven, the 
answer is " that the devil carried away Vivien." All 
that is known about Jean Vivien is that he was a 
vavassor of this Court, and that, in a fit of despair, 
he drowned himself, early in the seventeenth century. 
Up to about the middle of the present century three 
letters "I. V. V." cut by himself on the broken 
fragment of rock from which he leapt into the gulf, 
still existed at the end of a footpath, not far from 
the "Fosse au Courlis >: Curlew's ditch or grave 
a spot haunted by witches. 

Since then no Christian has dared to replace the 

prieurete et eux auront ainsi fait leurs debvoir eux doivent avoir a disner bien et honneste- 
ment tous ensemble es despens et coustages de mon dit Seigneur. Lequel seruice iceux 
officiers confessoient estre tenus de droit et de raison de trois ans en trois ans par la dignite de 
leurs offices. Item leurs disners semblablement toutes fois ct quant qu'eux taxent les amendes 
de la dite cour. Item aussi a Noel et a Pasques quant eux rendent et payent les francs tenans (?) 
C'est a ssavoir les chapons a Noel et les oeufs a pasques. Lesquelles choses et chacune 
d'icelles en la forme et maniere comme dessus est dit et desclare. Le dit attourne au nom 
que dit est, proposoit adonques contre le dit recepveur, deffenseur comme dessus est dit ; et 
qu'a jceux officiers appartenoit de droit et d'antienne coustume a raison et dignitez de leurs 
offices et cela jceluy attourne offroit a prouver a suffire contre le dit deffenseur et jceluy 
recepueur deffenseur comme dit est es auant dites parties, propos et callenges dust fait negacion ; 
et le dit attourne dust prins et offert a prouver a suffire contre le dit deffenseur es quelles parties 
nous assignames certain jour es premiers plaids de la dite Cour c'est a scavoir au dit attourne a 
faire sa preuve et audit deffenseur a la soustenir. Sachent tous que le Jour du Jeudy neufieme 
jour du mois de Juillet 1'an de grace mills, quatre cents et trente-neuf, en la dite cour par- 
devant nous comme dit est les dites parties furent presentes et personellemeut compareutes, et 
leurs raisons recitees et alleguees tant de 1'une partie que de 1'autre. Le dit attourne prouva 
et informa bien et raisonnablement toute son jntention et propos estre bons et vrays en forme 
et maniere comme dessus est dit, et desclare par le report d'un bon et loyal serment douze 
preud'hommes de la dite paroisse de St. Michel du Valle, Jures et Sermentez de nostre ofice 
sur Saintes euangilles de dire et raporter uerite et loyaulte sur les cas, Item en outre rt 
dabondant qu'au Seigneur de ladite prieurete appartient a faire curer et netoyer le fonds du 
douit du grand maresq appartenant a la dite prieurete, estant a la dite paroisse et en cas 
qu'aucune ordure soit terre ou pierre cherroit dedans jceluy douit qu'il doit estre netoye et cure 
es coustages de ceux a quj la faute seroit trouue apres lequel raport de serment fait et raporte a 
la forme et maniere comme dessus est dit nous condanmes (sic) (? confirmames) toutes et 
chacunes les choses dessus dites et desclarez enfin et par perpetuite d'heritage en sa temps 
aduenir. En tesmoing desquelles choses nous avons a ces presentes lettres mis et appendu le 
seell de nos Amies 1'an et le Jour de susdit Les parties a ce presentes. 

Collationne a 1'original par nous soussignez Senechal et Vavasseurs de la dite cour de St. 
Michel le vingt et unieme Jour du mois de May 1'an Mille, six cents soixante et huit. 





Sceau du 
Fief St. Michel 

du Valle. 
Contre Sceau Initiates du dit Senscchul, 



suicide Jean Vivien, and, when making the calculation 
of the symbolic vavassorial stones, his pebble is always 
omitted. There are but eleven instead of twelve. 

This was a curious civic ceremony which was 
abolished in the early part of this century. In each 
of our parishes there are a certain number of func- 
tionaries called douzeniers, because the corps in 
question consists of twelve (douze) members, except 
in St. Peter Port, where there are twenty, and at St. 
'Michel du Valle, where there are sixteen. When one 
of these officers was elected, he had to give a feast, 
to which the electors carried an enormous bouquet of 
flowers "a deux hanses " with two handles. The 
dinner finished and the cloth removed, each man filled 
his glass, and the abdicating douzenier (le douzenier 
delianse) broke one of these handles, previously dipping 
the bouquet into his glass, and drinking the health of 
the douzenier hanse. Then the bouquet went round 
from hand to hand, each man, while moistening it 
with the spirit that bubbled in his glass, adding his 
toast to the newly elected or hanse douzenier. 


10ral Customs Jtquatir. 

Hcurcux pcuple des champs, vos travaux sont des fetes." 

St. Lambert. 

The months of June, July, and August, form one 
of the principal seasons for the collection of the sea- 
weed with which the rocky shores of Guernsey abound, 
and which, from time immemorial, has proved a most 
valuable resource to the farmer, not only as affording 
an excellent manure for the land, but also, in the 
case of the poorer cottagers and fishermen who inhabit 
the coast, an unfailing supply of fuel. Many indeed 
of these gain almost their entire livelihood by collecting 
the " vraic " as it is locally termed, which they sell to 
their richer neighbours for dressing the land, or which, 
after drying on the shore, they stack for their winter 
firing. The ashes, which are carefully preserved, always 
command a ready market, being considered one of the 
best manures that can be applied to the land in 
preparing it for certain crops. The qualities of sea- 
weed in general as a fertilizer are so highly appre- 
ciated that it has given rise to the agricultural adage 
" point de vraic, point de hautgard " no sea-weed, 
no stack yard. It has been remarked that dry seasons 
are unfavourable to the growth of sea-weed, and that 
rain is almost as essential to its development as it 
is to that of the grass of the field a singular fact, 
when we remember that the marine plant has always 
a supply of moisture. 




Sea- weed is distinguished into two kinds " male 
venant ' drift weed, and " vraic scie " cut weed. 
The former is that which, like the leaves and branches 
of a tree, are severed from the place of growth by 
natural decay, or by the violence of storms, and is 
thrown up by the action of the waves on the shore. 
The latter is that which is detached from the rocks 
by the hand of man, generally with the aid of a small 
sickle. The collecting of sea-weed, whether drift or 
cut, is subject to stringent regulations, framed with a 
view both of preventing dangerous quarrels among 
those engaged in the occupation, and also of ensuring 
a regular supply of so precious a commodity by 
allowing sufficient time for its growth. In Guernsey 
the Eoyal Court has always legislated on the subject, 
but on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany it 
appears to have been the province of the Church to 
regulate the matter, and the harvesting of the sea- 
weed never began until the parish priest had solemnly 
blessed the undertaking. 

Driftweed may be collected at all seasons, but only 
between sunrise and sunset. It is found left on the 
beach by the retiring tide, or is dragged on shore by 
means of long rakes from amidst the breakers that roll 
in during, or after, heavy gales. This is hard work, 
and not unattended with danger. The men are 
frequently up to their waists in the water, and the 
shelving pebbly beach affords but an insecure footing. 
The rakes are often wrenched out of the men's hands 
by the violence of the waves, and hurled back among 
them, inflicting severe bruises and sometimes even 
broken limbs. The collecting of the cut weed or 
" vraic scie " is quite another thing. Although 
entailing a great deal of labour, it is looked upon, 


especially in summer, as a sort of holiday. There 
are two seasons during which it is lawful to cut : the 
first begins with the first spring-tide after Candlemas, 
and lasts about five weeks, during the whole of which 
time every person is allowed to collect as much as he 
wants for manuring his lands. The second cutting, 
which is chiefly for fuel, commences about Midsummer 
and lasts until the middle of August. Immemorial 
usage, strengthened by legal enactment, has consecrated 
the first eight days of cutting at this season to the poor. 
During this time none but those who are too poor to 
possess a horse or cart are allowed the privilege of 
gathering the vraic, which, when cut, they must bring 
to high water mark on their backs. After this 
concession to the less fortunate brethren, the harvest 
is thrown open to all. Then it is that the country 
people, uniting in parties consisting frequently of two 
or three neighbouring families, resort to the beach 
with their carts, to watch the ebbing tide, and secure 
a favourable spot for their operations. All who can 
be spared from the necessary routine work of the farm 
attend on these occasions. The younger people adorn 
their hats wdth wreaths of flowers, the horses' heads 
are decked with nosegays, and even the yoke of the 
patient ox is not without its floral honours. Once 
arrived on the sea-shore, not a mcment is lost, for 
time and tide wait for no man, and first come, first 
served. The sickle is plied vigorously, and small 
heaps of the precious weed are collected and marked 
with a flat pebble, on which the name or initials of 
the proprietor are chalked. The men wade across the 
" cols " or natural causeways leading to the outlying 
rocks, and, when the tide begins to flow, hastily load 
the carts, or the ample panniers with which the horses 



are provided, and hurry off to deposit their hard- 
earned store above high-water mark. In the meantime 
the younger members of the party range along the 
beach, turning over the stones in search of that 
esteemed mollusc the " ormer " or sea-ear (Haliotis 
tuberculata) which, when well cooked a secret only 
known to a native of the isles is really a delicious 
morsel. Not unfrequently crabs of various kinds are 
turned out of their hiding places, and hurry off, 
holding up their formidable pincers in defiance and 
defence, but are soon adroitly transferred to the 
" bt'hotte '' -a small basket, narrow mouthed and 
flattened on- one side, which hangs by a belt from the 
shoulder of the youth or maiden. Here and there a 
larger mass of rock is with difficulty raised, and a goodly 
sizel conger-eel, disturbed from his snug retreat, glides 
away like a snake and endeavours to hide himself in 
the grass-like il plize" (Zoster a Marina). A blow on 
the heal stuns him, and he goes to join the captive 
ormers and crabs. Perhaps one of those hideous 
monsters of the deep, the cuttle fish, is dislodged. His 
long tentacles, armed with innumerable suckers, which 
attach themselves strongly to anything they touch, his 
parrot-like bill and large projecting eyes, staring with 
a fixed go.23, are calculated to inspire alarm, but the 
trenchant sickle makes short work of him, and his 
scattered limbs remain on the spot to form a meal for 
the crabs. 

The laugh and the jest are to be heard on all 
sides even the brute creation seem to enjoy the 
change. The horses, generally quiet, scamper over the 
sands and rocks, neighing joyously to one another ; 
the farm dogs are busy hunting the small crabs that 
everywhere abound, or rushing into the water after the 


stones thrown by the children. A more animated 
scene can nowhere be witnessed, and, when lighted 
up by a bright summer sun, none more worthy of 
being studied by the artist. The rich colouring of 
the rocks, the lustrous bronzed tints of the moist 
sea- weed, the delicate hues of the transparent water 
as it lies unruffled in the small pools left by the 
retiring wave, the groups of oxen and horses with 
their shining summer coats, and the merry faces of 
the peasantry, form a picture which no true lover of 
nature can ever forget. But the tide is rising, and 
drives the busy crowd before it. Before, however, they 
leave the strand, the younger men choose their 
favourite lasses, and lead them, already thoroughly 
drenched, to meet the advancing wave. Hand-in-hand 
they venture in ; the confiding girl is enticed onwards, 
and suddenly finds herself immersed over head and 
ears in the water. Some, more coy, feign to fly, sure 
to be overtaken and share the same fate. The whole 
scene is vividly portrayed by Mr. Metivier in his poem 
of the " Sea Weeders " written in 1812. 

At last, all re-assemble on the grassy sward that 
lines the shore, and join their respective parties. The 
careful housewife has baked beforehand a plentiful 
supply of " gache " and biscuits ; the rich golden- 
coloured butter has been kept from the market, much 
to the annoyance of the thrifty matron in town, who 
finds the price enhanced in consequence ; the small 
barrel of cider is broached, and all make a hearty 
meal. The remaining hours of daylight are employed 
in carting away the vraic or spreading it out on the 
downs to dry, and, when night has set in, many 
assemble again at some neighbouring tavern and end 
the day with song and dance. The old fashioned 

i 2 


11 cliifournie " or hurdy-gurdy the rote of mediaeval 
times has given way to the modern fiddle, but the 
songs are still those that delighted their ancestors. 
Most, if not all of them, have been originally derived 
from France, where it is far from improbable that 
they are now forgotten except in some remote country 
villages, but it is curious to find that they are still 
sung by the Canadian boatmen, and " Belle Eose, au 
Eosier Blanc" and "A la Claire Fontaine' 1 are as 
familiar to the American descendants of the Normans 
as they are to the Guernsey peasant. 


Another favourite amusement of the young people in 
the country, besides the merry-making which accompanies 
and follows the collection of sea-weed in summer, is the 
forming of parties to take the ormer, a shell-fish which 
abounds at low water at the spring-tides in spring and 
autumn. The ormer is the Haliotis tuberculata of 
naturalists, and derives its name from its resemblance 
in shape to an ear auris marina " oreille de mer." 
The shell, which was formerly thrown away, is now 
carefully collected and exported, as it enters largely 
into the japanned ware manufactured at Birmingham 
and elsewhere, the lustre of the interior of the shell 
surpassing in brilliancy and variety of tints that of the 
best mother-of-pearl. It is not, however, for the sake 
of the shell that this mollusc is sought, but for the fish 
itself, which, after being well beaten to make it tender, 
and cooked in brown sauce, forms a favourite dish. Like 


the limpet, the ormer adheres strongly to the rock, from 
which it requires some degree of strength to detach it, 
but it seems to possess considerable powers of locomotion, 
and appears to come up from the deep water at certain 
seasons of the year, probably for the purpose of depositing 
its ova. It is a curious instance of the local distribution 
of animal life that, although the ormer is known in 
the Mediterranean, and is found all along the western 
shores of Spain and France, and in great quantities 
on the coasts of Brittany, it has never been discovered 
much to the eastward of Cherbourg, nor on the English 
side of the Channel. 

The localities in which the ormer abounds are the 
rocky bays, of which there are so many around our 
coast, and there it is found at the proper seasons 
adhering to the under surface of the loose boulders. 
It is no trifling work to turn over these stones, but 
the searcher often returns home laden with several 
hundred ormers, and not infrequently he has also 
added a crab or a conger to his store. 


The catching of the sand-eel, or " lanclion " as it 
is locally termed, takes place on nights when the 
moon is at her full, and at low water : it is pursued 
more as a recreation than as a source of profit. Parties 
of young men and women unite and resort to some 
sandy bay or creek as the tide is ebbing, armed with 
blunted sickles, two-pronged forks, or any instrument 
with which the sand can be easily stirred. The fish, 


on being disturbed, rise to the surface of the sand with 
a leap. They are very agile in their movements, but 
their bright silvery sides, glittering in the moon-beams, 
betray them to their active pursuers, and before they 
have time to burrow again in the sand they are caught 
with the hand and transferred to the basket. It is 
more easy to imagine than describe the fun and 
merriment to which this sport gives rise ; how in 
the eagerness of the pursuit, a false step will place 
the incautious maiden up to the waist in a pool of 
water, and subject her to the good natured laughter 
of her merry companions ; how an apparently accidental 
push from behind will cause a youth, who is stooping 
down to gather up the fish, to measure his whole length 
on the wet sand ; or how a malicious step will splash 
one or more of the party from top to toe. To the 
lovers of the picturesque the localities in which this 
sport takes place add not a little to the charm of the 
scene. The broad sands of Yazon Bay, those of La 
Saline and other creeks on the western shores of the 
island, hemmed in on all sides by reefs of rock, and, 
above all, that most lovely spot called Le Petit Port, 
which lies at the foot of the precipitous cliffs of Jerbourg, 
seen in the full light of the harvest moon, leave 
impressions on the mind that are not easily forgotten. 
Although the coasts of the island abound in fish 
of various sorts, sea-fishing, as an amusement, is very 
little resorted to. The reason of this is no doubt 
to be found in the strong tides and currents and 
dangerous rocks which surround us on every side, and 
which render it imprudent to venture out to sea 
unless under the guidance of an experienced pilot. Of 
late years, however, the extension of the harbour 
works into deep water has brought the fish within 


reach without the risk of hazarding one's life by 
venturing on the fickle sea, and the " contemplative 
man's amusement " is becoming daily more and more 
popular. Crowds of men and boys may be seen in all 
sorts of weather and at all hours of the day angling 
from the pier heads, and not infrequently making 
very fair catches. 

Although prawns and shrimps are tolerably plentiful, 
there are but few who take the trouble of catching 
them for the market, but the pursuit of these delicate 
crustaceans is a favourite amusement, and is occa- 
sionally indulged in by persons of all ranks, the shores 
of Herm and Jethou, and the bays of the Pezerie 
and Rocquaine being the best spots at low tide for 
the sport. Inglis, in his work on the Channel Islands, 
remarks " that so various are tastes in the matter of 
recreation, that he has seen individuals who found as 
much pleasure in wading for half-a-day, knee-deep 
among rocks, to make capture of some handfuls of 
shrimps, as has ever been afforded to others in the 
pursuit of the deer or the fox." 



Customs (Cmnumial. 

" What art thou, thou idle ceremony ? 
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more 
Of mortal grief than do thy worshippers ! 
Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form ? " 

Shakespea re. 

Although the doctrines of the Keformation were 
introduced into Guernsey in the reign of Edward VI., 
and perhaps earlier, and the Liturgy put forth by 
authority in the reign of that monarch was translated 
into French and used in the churches,* it was not 
until the reign of Elizabeth that the island became 
wholly Protestant. 

Up to this time the Channel Islands had formed 
part of the Diocese of Coutances in Normandy,f an 
arrangement which led to much inconvenience in 
times of war between France and England. Queen 

t Boniface IX. being Pope, Clement VII. Anti-Pope in France, and the 
Bishop of Coutances taking his side, the Bishop of Nantes was appointed 
by Boniface administrator of the See of Coutances, and the King of England, 
Richard II., addressed a letter to the Governors, Bailiffs, Jurats, and other 
inhabitants of Jersey and Guernsey, ordering them to obey the Bishop of 
Nantes in all spiritual matters. Rymer. Vol. VIII. p. 131. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Comet, June 2gth, 1889. " At the sale of Lord Crawford's effects, held in 
London last week, Messrs. Sotheby sold to Messrs. Ellis, of Bond Street, a Prayer Book, 
translated into French for the special use of Channel Islanders. The book dates as far back 
as 1553, and was sold for the price of 70. The following is a full description of the book 
taken from the catalogue : " 678 Liturgy, Livre des Prieres communes de 1'administration des 
sacremens et autres ceremonies en 1'Eglise de 1'Angleterre. Traduit en Francoys par Francoys 
Philippe, serviteur de Monsieur le Grand Chancelier d'Angleterre. (Fine copy in blue morocco 
extra gilt edges by W. Pratt, excessively rare). Sm. 410. (Paris). De I'imprinierie de Thomas 
Gaultier, Imprimeur du Roy en la langue Francaise, pour les lies de Sa Majeste 1553. The 
following is the collation of this extremely rare edition, purchased in the Tenison sale for 
39. (4) ff. Title, Contents, Epistle to Bp. of Ely. Sig : AI IVt (4) . Preface des 
Ceremonies en sign. B.l.IVt (14) ff. Table & Kalendar, Proper Psalms and Lessons. Acte 
pour Uniformite. 4. (184) ff. Texte. The translation was made from the second book of King 
Edward VI. for the use of the Inhabitants of the Channel Islands." 


Elizabeth put an end to this connection in the year 
1568,* and attached the islands to the See of 
Winchester ; but it was not until the Eestoration of 
Charles II. that the change took full effect, and 
that the islands were brought entirely within the 
discipline of the Church of England by authority of 
the Bill of Uniformity. 

It is well known that it was part of Queen Elizabeth's 
policy to favour the Huguenot party in France ; and 
that in times of persecution the followers of the Reformed 
faith always met with an hospitable reception in 
England. The Channel Islands, lying so close to the 
coast of Erance, and speaking the same language as 
was used in continental Normandy, were naturally 
chosen as places of refuge in times of persecution by 
the Erench Protestants, many of whom and among 
them several ministers resorted thither until more 
settled times enabled them to return to their own 
homes. The old Roman Catholic rectors of the 
parishes in Guernsey, who, apparently, had given 
a sort of half adhesion to the intermediate order of 
things, and had been allowed to retain possession of 
a portion, at least, of the emoluments of their 
benefices, seem to have disappeared altogether shortly 
after the excommunication of the Queen by Pope 
Pius V. in 1570. 

The Governor of Guernsey, Sir Thomas 'Leighton, 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * It was the excommunication of Queen Elizabeth by the Pope that led to 
the transference of the Channel Islands from the Diocese of Coutances to that of Winchester. 
Canon MacColl in his "Reformation Settlement" notes as an extraordinary fact that the Bishop 
of Coutances so far disapproved of that ex-communication as to have offered, on condition that 
his jurisdiction was allowed, to give institution to those clergy whom the Queen might nominate 
from the English Universities. In fact, up to the date of the bull of excommuunication, the 
islands remained under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Coutances, who permitted the use 
of the reformed Prayer Book, and ruled, apparently without a protest, over a portion of 
his <Ji cese ? in which the claim to supremacy on the part of the Pope was denied,. 


who favoured the views of the Puritan party in the 
Church, filled up the vacant pulpits with French 
refugee ministers, and probably it would have been 
difficult at that time to find any others.* The same 
course seems to have been followed in Jersey. These 
ministers very naturally preferred their own form of 
conducting divide worship to that of the Anglican 
Church, and, on the representation of the Governors 
of both the islands, permission was given by the Queen 
for the use of the Genevan form in the churches of 
the towns of St. Peter Port in Guernsey, and of 
St. Helier in Jersey. This permission was renewed 
by King James I. on his accession to the throne ; 
and the natural consequence was, that not only the 
Presbyterian form of worship soon spread into every 
parish in the islands, but that the Presbyterian discipline 
and Church government were firmly established, and 
the authority of the Bishop of Winchester totally 
ignored. To this discipline the people of Guernsey 
clung with great pertinacity, and the attempts during 
the Great Kebellion of the Brownists and other fanatical 
sects to introduce their peculiar doctrines, met with 
little or no favour. It was not without some opposition 
that Episcopacy was brought in, most of the ministers 
refusing to conform to the new order of things, and 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Mr. Matthieu Le Lievre gives a slightly different version. He says : 
" Parmi ceux qui avaicnt quitte Guernesey pour echapper au coups de la reaction catholique, 
se trouvait Guillaume Beauvoir, membre de 1'une des families qui ont joue un grand role dans 
1'hiitoire de 1'ile, et qui occupa lui-meme, pendant neuf ans (1572-1581), la dignite de bailli, la 
premiere magistrature du pays. ... II s'eloigna done et se refugia avec sa femme a 
Geneve, ou il sejourna quelque temps et se fit avantageusement connaitre de Calvin et de ses 
collogues. Rentre dans son ile natale apres la mort de la reine Marie, il fut frappe de la 
necessite d'appeler au plus tot un homme de tete et de piete pour relever les affaires de la 
Reforme a Guernesey. II ecrivit done aux pasteurs de Geneve, et a Calvin en particulier, 
pour leur demander un ministre. La Compagnie des Pasteurs s'en occupa et envoya a la 
jeune Eglise de Guernesey le ministre Nicolas Baudoin, porteur de deux lettres de recom- 
mandation addressees a Guillaume Beauvoir, et signees, 1'une Charles Despeville (1'un des 
pseudonymes de Calvin) et 1'autre Raymond Chauvet, 1'un des Pasteurs de Geneve." Hisioire 
du Methodising dans les lies de la Manche, par Matthieu Le Lifivre, D.D., pp. 38-39. 


giving up their livings in consequence.* The people 
had nothing to say in the matter : they were bound 
by the Act of Uniformity, but, in deference to their 
feelings and prejudices, certain practices were allowed 
to be retained, and certain others dispensed with. 

No great objection could be made to a set form 
of prayer, for something of the kind- was in use in 
the French Eeformed Church ; but the Litany of the 
Church of England seems to have given great offence 
probably from its close resemblance to some of 
those used in the Eomish Church insomuch that 
many persons at first abstained altogether from 
attending the morning service ; and, although in the 
present day no objection exists to this, or any other 
part of the Liturgy, it is, perhaps, owing to habits 
then contracted, and handed down from generation to 
generation, that so many, especially in the rural 
parishes, absent themselves from church in the forenoon. 
The use of the sign of the cross in baptism, in 
deference to the strong prejudices of the people, who 
seem to have looked upon it as the Mark of the 
Beast, was not at first insisted upon, but, in order to 
counteract this feeling, the thirtieth Canon " On the 
lawful use of the Cross in Baptism," was inserted at 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* Pierre Le Roy's Diary, 24th Sept., 1662. " II est arrive dans cette ile 
une compagnie de cent soldats avec un major, un capitaine, et des officiers, a cause de 
quelque opposition a 1'Acte d'Uniformite. Les ministres n'ont pas voulu s'y soumettre et ont 
abandonne leurs cures, savoir M. Le Marchant, du Valle et de Saint-Samson ; M. Perchard, 
de Saint Pierre-du-Bois ; M. Morehead, de Saint-Sauveur ; M. de la Marche, du Cfttel, et 
M. Herivel, de la Foret et de Torteval." John de Sausmarez, formerly Rector of St. Martin's 
parish, was made Dean in 1662, and he and one of his colleagues, Pierre de Jersey, were the 
first to establish the new ritual. Thomas Le Marchant, who was virtually the head of the 
Presbyterian party, and as such was especially hated by Dean de Sausmarez, was shut up first 
in Castle Cornet in 1663, and in 1665 in the Tower of London, till September, 1667, when he was 
liberated, " ayant donne caution de mille livres sterling qu'il ne presumera pas en aucun temps 
d'aller dans 1'ile de Guernesey a moins qu'il n'ait pour le faire une license speciale de Sa 
Majeste, et qu'il se comportera a 1'avenir comme un respectueux et loyal sujet," etc. He had 
married Olympe Roland, and his son Eleazar was later Lieutenant Bailiff of Guernsey. See also 
ffistoire du Methodisme dans les Isles de la MantAe, par Mattbieu Le Lievre, i88j, p. 112, 


the end of the Baptismal Service in the French 
translation of the Book of Common Prayer printed 
for use in the islands, and there is every reason to 
believe that the objection to this practice soon died 

Probably, kneeling at the Holy Communion was 
received with little favour, for we find that the first 
introduction of this practice on the 12th of October, 
1662, was thought worthy of a note in a journal kept 
by a parish clerk and schoolmaster of that day Pierre 
Le Roy who wisely abstained from any comment on 
the event. To this day appliances for kneeling are 
rare in many pews, and at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century most of the congregation remained 
seated during the singing of the metrical psalms, as 
is the practice in the Presbyterian churches in 
Scotland and on the Continent. 

Baptismal fonts are of recent introduction, the order 
to put them up in all the parish churches having been 
given by the Bishop of Winchester (Dr. C. E. Sumner) 
on the occasion of his primary visitation to this portion 
of his diocese in September, 1829, he being the first 
Prelate of that See who had deigned to inspect the 
state of the churches in the islands since the time that 
they were placed under the care of an Anglican Bishop 
by Queen Elizabeth. Before fonts were provided, the 
rite of baptism was administered at the altar, the 
minister, standing within the rail, receiving the water 
at the proper moment from the clerk, who poured it 
into his hand from a silver ewer. 

In the absence of periodical visits from a Bishop, the 
rite of confirmation had, of course, become a dead 
letter. It was administered in 1818, for the first time 
since the Keformation, by Dr. Fisher, Bishop of 


Salisbury, who had been deputed to consecrate two 
newly -erected churches by the then Bishop of 
Winchester, who was too old and infirm to undertake 
the duty himself. Before that time and indeed for 
some considerable time later it was customary to give 
notice from the pulpit, previously to the quarterly 
celebration of the Holy Communion, that young persons 
desirous of communicating for the first time should 
attend in the vestry on a certain day. This notice was, 
of course, given in the parish churches in French 
the language of the great majority of the people of 
that time and the word used for "vestry," and which 
we have so translated, was " Consistoire." No doubt, 
under the Presbyterian discipline, the examination of 
catechumens took place before the Consistory, composed 
of the minister and elders of the church. 

Till a comparatively recent period the Holy Commu- 
nion was only administered quarterly, and at the 
great festivals of Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and 
Michaelmas. A preparatory sermon was generally 
preached at an evening service held on the day 
before the communion, and on this occasion a 
metrical version of the Decalogue was usually sung 
instead of a psalm or hymn. This was a practice 
borrowed from the French Eeformed Church, as was 
also that of singing the 100th Psalm while the non- 
communicants were leaving the church, some portions 
of the 103rd Psalm while the communion was being 
administered, and, just before the final benediction, 
the Song of Simeon, " Nunc Dimittis." 

Men and women communicated separately, the men 
first and the women afterwards, a relic doubtless of 
the time when they were kept apart in the church. 
No one thought of leaving the rails until all who knelt 


at the same time had communicated, when the officiating 
minister dismissed them with these words : 

" Allez en paix ; vivez en paix, 

Et que le Dieu de Paix vous benisse." 

" Que le Dieu de Paix soit avec vous." 

They then retired to make room for others. In 
parishes where weekly collections were made at the 
church door for the relief of the poor, it was customary 
for the minister to say immediately after the final 
benediction : 

" Allez en paix ; vivez en paix ; 

Et en sortant de ce temple souvenez vous des pauvres." 

All these peculiar customs, which had been handed 
down from Presbyterian times, are rapidly disappearing. 
In the days when the celebration of the Lord's Supper 
was confined to stated days, it was the custom in 
some of the country parishes to deck out the churches 
for the occasion with branches of evergreens, as at 
Christmas. Also, on the day of the communion it 
was considered irregular to appear in coloured clothes. 
Black was universally worn, and many old people, 
both in town and country, but especially in the 
country, keep to the old custom. 

The practice of publishing the banns of marriage 
immediately after the recital of the Nicene Creed, 
and not after the Second Lesson, as is done in 
England, has been retained in Guernsey ; the Act of 
Parliament of George II., which was supposed to 
change the custom of the church in this respect, 
and to do away with the express injunctions in the 
rubric, not including the Channel Islands in its 
provisions. In the country parishes, where the 


cemeteries are in the immediate vicinity of the 
churches, it is now though it was not so in former 
days the custom to carry the corpse into the 
church for the reading of the appointed Psalms and 
Lesson ; but in Town, where the burial-grounds are, 
for the most part, at some considerable distance from 
the sacred building, this part of the service was, till 
of late years, entirely dispensed with. It is customary, 
however, for the Clergy, sometimes to the number of 
three or four, to attend at the house of the deceased, 
if invited so to do, and to head the procession to the 
church or cemetery. A pious custom existed formerly 
which, one is sorry to say, has of late years fallen 
almost entirely into disuse no man ever commenced 
a new work, or even began the usual routine work of 
the season, without making use of these words " Au 
nom de Dieu soit ! " Wills and many other legal 
documents, the books in which the Acts of the Eoyal 
Court and of the States of the island are registered, 
as well as those used by merchants and tradesmen in 
their business, all commenced with this formula. In 
many cases it evidently took the place of the sign of 
the cross. All sittings of the Eoyal Court and of the 
States of the island, as well as the meetings of 
parishioners in the Yestry, and of the parochial 
councils known as Douzaines, are opened by the 
recitation of the Lord's Prayer, and closed by the 
Apostolic Benediction. 


iirtlj anft 

On the birth of a child notice is usually sent to 
the nearest relations, and as soon as the mother is 
sufficiently recovered she receives the visits and 
congratulations of her friends. It is customary to 
offer cake and wine to the visitors on these occasions. 
The wine must on no account be refused, but the 
health of the child must be duly drunk, and the glass 
drained, for it is considered extremely unlucky to 
leave a drop behind. The christening feast still 
retains the ancient name of " Les Aubailles" from 
the white garment or alb in French " aube " with 
which, in the early church, the recipients of baptism 
were solemnly invested. It is customary for the 
sponsors to make a present to the child, which 
usually takes the form of silver spoons, or a drinking 
cup. Before the re-establishment of Episcopacy at 
the Restoration there appears to have been only one 
sponsor of each sex. Of course the rubric which 
orders that every boy shall have two godfathers, and 
every girl two godmothers, is now complied with, but 
the second is invariably styled by the people the 
" little " godfather or godmother, and is often a child 
or very young person evidently only put in to comply 
with the requirements of the church. 

The excess of feasting at baptisms and churchings 
as well as at marriages and funerals seems to have 
reached to such an extent in the early part of the 
seventeenth century as to call for repressive measures 
on the part of the legislature, at that time deeply 
imbued with a puritanical spirit, and sumptuary laws 



of a very stringent nature were promulgated restricting 
the invitations on these occasions to the nearest 
relations, and prohibiting entirely all dancing, and even 

After baptism the child is sent round to its nearest 
relatives, and the old women say that a present of 
some sort, preferably an egg, should be placed in the 
infant's hands, while visitors to the child are 
always expected to put some money in the infant's 
hand for luck, and as a token that it shall never 
want, the value of the gift being of little moment. 

It is thought very unlucky to measure or weigh a 
child, such a proceeding being sure to stop its growth ; 
and it is also supposed to be very unlucky to cover 
up a baby's face when taking it to the church to 
be christened, until the ceremony is over. 

It is considered peculiarly unlucky for three children 
to be presented at the font at the same time for 
baptism, as it is firmly believed that one of the three 
is sure to die within the year.* Communicated by the 
Rev. C. D. P. Robi?ison, Rector of St. Martin's. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * This superstition still continues, and was told me in 1896 by Mrs. Le 
Patourel and others. The doomed baby is supposed to be the one christened second, or the 
middle one, and you still hear women say when their child has been christened with two 
others, " Oh, but mine was an end one." 


an& Wrings, 

" As I have scene upon a Bridall day, 
Full many maids clad in their best array, 
In honour of the Bride come with their Flaskets 
Fill'd full with flowers : others in wicker baskets 
Bring forth from the Marsh rushes, to o'erspread 
The ground whereon to Church the lovers tread ; 
Whilst that the quaintest youth of all the Plaine 
Ushers their way with many a piping straine." 

Brown's " Pastorals" wriffen before 1614. 

From the reign of Elizabeth to the Eestoration 
of Charles II., the Presbyterian form of church 
government, with its rigorous discipline, prevailed 
in the Island, and the betrothal " fia^ailles "* of 
persons intending to take upon themselves the holy 
state of matrimony was a solemn act, performed in 
the presence of the ministers and elders of the church, 
and which by an ordinance of the Royal Court of the 
year 1572, was to be followed by marriage within six 
months at the latest. The legislature of that day 
evidently disapproved of long engagements. The 
promise was usually confirmed by a gift on the part 
of the bridegroom of some article of value, which was 
to be held by the bride as an earnest for the 
performance of the contract, and returned in case the 
match was broken off by mutual consent. Traces of 

* " The custom of flouncing is said to be peculiar to Guernsey. It is an 
entertainment given by the parents of a young couple when they are engaged, 
and the match has received approval. The girl is introduced to her husband's 
family and friends by her future father-in-law, and the man similarly by hers ; 
after this they must keep aloof from all flirtation, however lengthy the courtship 
may prove. The belief is that if either party break faith the other side can lay 
claim to a moiety of his or her effects." From Brand's Popular Antiquities 
of Great Britain. Vol. II., p. 56. 

G 2 


this custom are still to be observed in the formal 
announcement; of the engagement to relations, and in 
the visits paid to them by the young couple in order 
to introduce each other reciprocally to those with 
whom they are to be hereafter more closely connected, 
as well as in the importance attached to the presents, 
locally termed " gages "* (pledges) given by the young 
man to his affianced bride. 

A round of entertainments usually succeeds the 
announcement of the intended marriage, at which in 
former days mulled wine used to be " de rigueur," 
as indeed it was at all family merry makings and 
occasions of rejoicings. 

Among the trading, agricultural, and labouring 
classes each party is expected to bring his or her 
portion of the articles necessary to set up housekeeping. 
The man, for example, provides the bedstead, the 
woman, the bed and the household linen, and very 
often the crockery and furniture. All, however, is 
looked upon as belonging to the wife, and is frequently 
secured to her by a regular contract entered into 
before marriage, so that in case of the husband getting 
into pecuniary difficulties, his creditors cannot lay 
claim to the household furniture. The handsomely 
carved oaken chests, or large leather-covered boxes 
studded with brass nails, which were formerly to be 
seen in almost all the old country houses, were used 
to contain the stock of linen, and appear to have been 
in early days almost the only piece of ornamental 
furniture of which the house could boast. This used 
to be brought to the bridegroom's residence, with the 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Usually consisting- of half-a-dozcn or a dozen (according- to the 
bridegroom's means) s'lver spoons, and a pair of sugar tongs, maiked with the initials of 
bride and the customary " bague de fiancaillcs." 


rest of the articles provided by the bride, a day or 
two before the wedding, and with a certain degree of 
form, the bridegroom, or his best man, conducting 
the cart which contained them,* and the nearest 
unmarried female relative of the bride carrying the 
looking-glass or some other valued or brittle article. 
A similar custom still exists in Normandy and Brittany. 
It is considered highly unlucky for a bride to take any 
other way in going to the church to be married than 
that which she follows when going thither for her 
usual devotions. Flowers and rushes are invariably 
strewn in the path of the bride and bridegroom as 
they leave the church, and before the door of their 
future habitation.f 

On the first or second Sunday after their wedding 
the newly-married pair appear in church attended by 


* Besides this it was customary amongst farmers for the parents of a bride to give her a cow, 
and the animal in this case followed the cart. From Mr. J. de Garzs f Rouvefs, St. Saviour's, 1901. 
t Les " gllajeurs " the wild marsh iris was always one of the favourite flowers for strewing 
in front of the bride, and all the water-lanes and marshes were ransacked for it. The wedding 
festivities generally lasted for two or three days. The house on the wedding day was decorated 
with wreaths and crowns of flowers, and, as usual, the festivities began with dinner, for which 
the usual fare was roast beef, roast mutton, a ham, plum pudding, and. of course, " giche a 
corinthe," washed down with cider. Then came games, songs, etc., till tea time, and then the 
tables would be cleared for dancing, while mulled wine, cheese, and Guernsey biscuits would be 
handed round at intervals. All the relations, friends, and neighbours of course partook of 
these festivities. A few songs were sung, " Jean, gros Jean," being a " sine qua non " in the 
country parishes, and then the mulled wine was handed round in cups, especially at midnight, 
as the clock struck. The correct formula before beginning to drink was 
" Cher petit Pepinot 

Quand je te ve 

Tu parais bien 

Si je te b&, j'm 'en sentirai 

Et si je te laisse j'm 'en repentirai, 

Faut done bien mieux bere, et m'en sentir 

.Que de te laisser, et m'n rcpentir! 

A votre santai la coumpagnie ! " 

Very frequently at weddings people who knew what this formula led to put hanging beams 
from the " portfre," or central rafter for the men to hold on to ! "A mon beau laurier qui 
danse " was of course always danced at the weddings, " ma coummere, et quand je danse " 
was another very favourite dance, the steps going to each syllable when sung, and they 
also danced " Poussette," which entirely consisted of the different inflections of the word 
" Poussette," " Pou-set-te," alternately chanted smoothly or jerkily. This feasting and dancing 
was kept up till five or six the next morning, and very often for the next night as well, while 
on the third day all the old people and non-dancers were asked in to finish up the feast in 
peace. From Mrs. Mollet, Mrs. Marquand, and Mrs. Le Patourel. 

There are certain gifts from a man to his fiancee which are supposed to be most unlucky 
to accept, as by so doing it would mean that the wedding would probably never take place. 


the best man and the bridesmaid, and it is a point 
of etiquette for the bride and bridegroom to read and 
sing out of the same book, however many books 
there may be in the pew. Among well-to-do people 
a series of parties in honour of the young couple 
ensue, which in the dialect of the country are called 
" reneuclions" "neuches" being the local pronunciation 
of -the French word " noces." 

It appears from an ordinance of the Royal Court of 
1625, when the puritanical spirit, which had come in 
with the Genevan discipline, was at its height, that the 
poor at that time were in the habit of soliciting alms 
at weddings, baptisms, and burials. This practice, as 
tending to keep up superstition and as dishonouring 
to God, was expressly forbidden by the legislation under 

They are a watch and chain, a brooch, and a Bible, and if he should present her with a knife 
or a pair of scissors the only way to avert the ill-luck is to pay a penny for them. Should 
a girl upset a chair before the wedding her marriage will be delayed for a year. If a girl 
wishes to dream of the man she is to marry she must take some of the wedding cake on the 
day of the wedding, pass it through a married woman's wedding ring, or, if possible, the bride's, 
(a widow's is of no avail) and put it under her pillow, and dream on it for five consecutive 
nights, and the last dream will come true. From Fanny Ingrouille. 

A correspondent sent the following query in 1857 to " Notes and Queries " : " A month or 
two back a family, on leaving one of the Channel Islands, presented to a gardener (it is 
uncertain whether an inhabitant of the island or no) some pet doves, the conveyance of them 
to England being likely to prove troublesome. A few days afterwards the man brought them 
back, stating that he was engaged to be married, and the possession of the birds might be 
(as he had been informed) an obstacle to the course of true love remaining smooth." This 
was put in the shape of a query, but no answer appeared. Doves and wild pigeons in 
Guernsey are supposed to be most unlucky birds to have in a house, so probably the gardener 
had been told that they would bring ill-luck on his future "menage" if he accepted them. 
The country people carry their distrust of them so far that they say that their wings, worn 
in a hat, bring misfortune, and they are among the birds whose feathers in the pillows of the 
dying prolong the death agony. 


If after marriage a couple do not agree well together, they are admonished by their neighbours 
by what, in England, is called " rough music." In Metivier's Dictionary he describes two young 
people, boy and girl, back to back on a donkey, representing the guilty husband and wife. 
They were followed by all the idlers of the district singing a scurrilous rhyme, and surrounding 
the house of the offending pair, where the song and its accompaniments were kept up all night. 
Metivier's Dictionary, p. 23. 

Nowadays putting the man and woman back to back on the donkey seems to be discontinued, 
but in St. Peter's-in- the- Wood, Miss Le Pelley, a resident in the parish, writes " If the young men 
of this parish find out that a man has beaten his wife they form two parties on opposite sides 
of his house, at about a distance of one hundred yards from it, and blow conch shells, first one 
and then the other in answer. They keep this noise up for a long time so that the married 
couple may feel ashamed of themselves. I have not heard them just lately (1896), but one 
year it was very frequent, and such a nuisance. See in Brand's Antiquities, Vol. 2, p. 129, the 
articles on "Riding the Stang" in Yorkshire, said also to be known in Scandinavia. 


pain of corporal punishment to the beggar, and a fine 
to the giver of alms.* 

* It is not unusual in the country parishes for the young men of the neighbour- 
hood to assemble around the house in the evening and to fire off their militia 
muskets or fowling pieces in honour of the wedding, in return for which they are 
regaled with a cup of wine to drink the health of the newly-married pair. If the 
marriage is between persons connected with the shipping interest all the vessels in 
port make a point of displaying their flags, and a few bottles of wine are 
distributed in return among the crews. Marriages among the country people are 
frequently celebrated on a Sunday, immediately before the morning service. If 
it is the intention of the newly-married couple to attend the service they make it 
a point to leave the Church and return after a short interval, as an idea prevails 
that if they remained in the Church until the prayers of the day have been begun 
the marriage would be illegal. From Rev. J. Glraud, Rector of Saint Saviour's, 


As soon as a death occurs in a family a servant 
or friend is immediately sent round to announce the 
sad event to all the nearest relatives of the deceased, 
and the omission of this formality is looked upon as 
a great slight, and a legitimate cause of offence. If any 
person enter a house where a corpse is lying it is 
considered a mark of great disrespect not to offer a 
sight of it, and it is thought equally disrespectful on 
the part of the visitor if the offer is declined, as the 
refusal is supposed to bring ill-luck on the house. 
When the day is fixed for the funeral a messenger 
is sent to invite the friends and relatives to attend, 
and in times gone by if those to be invited resided 
at any distance it was considered proper that this 
messenger should be mounted on a black horse. 


Formerly the funeral feast was universal, of late years 
it is seldom heard of except in some of the old 
country families of the middle classes, among whom 
ancient customs generally abide longer than among 
the classes immediately above or below them. 

The lid of the coffin is not screwed down until all 
the guests are assembled, and the person whose 
business it is to see to it, comes into the room where 
they are met, and invites them to take a last look. 
Hearses are almost unknown, even in cases where 
the distance from the house to the cemetery is 
considerable. The coffin is almost invariably borne 
on the shoulders by hired bearers, but in former days 
it was only persons of a certain standing in society 
who were considered entitled to this honour ; the poor 
were carried by their friends, three on each side, 
bearing the coffin slung between them. Care was 
always taken that the corpse was carried to the 
church by the way the deceased was in the habit 
of taking during his lifetime.* 

The custom of females attending funerals, which 
was formerly universal, has disappeared entirely from 
the town, but in the country it is still occasionally 
observed, the mourners being attired in long black 
cloaks with hoods that almost conceal the face. The 
funeral feast, when there is one, takes place when 
the cortege returns to the house of mourning. A 
chair is placed at the table where the deceased was 
wont to sit, and a knife, fork, plate, etc., laid before 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Mr. Allen told mo (1896) ' that attending a short time ago at a funeral in 
the Mount Durand, the corpse was to be carried to Trinity Church, to which of course the 
shortest route was down the hill, but the widow of the deceased remonstrated so vigorously, 
saying that she could not allow anything so unlucky to happen to her husband, as that he 
should start for his funeral down hill, _that, in deference to her wishes they went up the hill 
and round by Queen's-road. 


it as if he were still present.* Tea and coffee, wine, 
cider, and spirits, cakes, bread and cheese, and more 
especially a ham, are provided for the occasion. The 
last-named viand was, in bygone days, almost 
considered indispensable, and where they kept pigs, 
and almost everyone then kept pigs every year, 
when the pig was killed, a ham was put away "in 
case of a funeral " and was not touched till the 
next pig was killed and another ham was put in 
readiness ; and from thence it comes that " mangier 
la tchesse a quiqu'un " a to eat a person's ham" 
is proverbially used in the sense of attending his 
funeral. The first glass of wine is drunk in silence 
to the memory of the departed, whose good qualities 
are then dilated upon, but the conversation soon 
becomes general, and it not unfrequently happens 
that more liquor is imbibed than is altogether good 
for the guests. In fact the mourners had generally 
to be conveyed home in carts. f 

From ancient wills it seems that money was some- 
times left for the purpose of clothing a certain 
number of poor, and from the ordinances of the Royal 

* At funeral feasts it was an ancient custom in Iceland to leave the place 
of the dead man vacant. -See Gould's "Curiosities of Olden Times,' 1 '' p 84. 


t Unless the forehead of the corpse is touched after death the ghost will walk. When you 
go into a house of mourning and are shown the corpse you should always lay your hand on 
its forehead. From Fanny Ingrouille, of the Forest Parish. 

The same idea prevails in Guernsey which we meet with in Yorkshire and many of the 
Eastern Counties of England that, having your pillow stuffed with pigeons', doves', or any 
mild bird's feathers will cause you to " die hard." See Notes and Queries, ist Series, 
Vol. IV. 

It is also said that it is unlurky to keep doves in a house, but if they are kept in a cage and 
anyone dies in the house, unless a crape bow is placed on the top of the cage they will die too. 

The country people also believe that no one ever dies when the tide is rising. Frequently 

when talking of a death they will say, " the tide turned, and took off poor with it," 

From Fanny Ingrouille and many others. 


Court prohibiting begging at funerals, or even the 
voluntary giving of alms on these occasions, it is not 
improbable that the custom of distributing doles was, 
at one time, almost general. There is no trace of it 
in the present day. 

Till within the last few years it was almost an 
universal custom, even among the dissenters, for the 
members of a household in which a death had 
occurred, to attend their parish church in a body on 
the first or second Sunday after the funeral, and the 
custom is still kept up to a certain extent. If they 
are regular frequenters of the church they occupy 
their usual seats, if not, they are placed, if possible, 
in some conspicuous part of the building, where they 
remain seated during the entire service, not rising 
even during those portions of the service in which 
standing is prescribed by the rubric. This is called 
" taking mourning," in French " prendre le deuil." 
Widows remain seated in church during the whole of 
the first year of their widowhood. 

Bart II. 

>apmtitious IBsltef antr 


jKoratments ; 

' Of brownyis and of bogillus full is this buke." 

Gawitt Douglas. 

' D'un passe sans memoire, incertaines reliques 
Mysteres d'un vieux monde en mysteres ecrits." 


' Among those rocks and stones, methinks I see 
More than the heedless impress that belongs 
To lonely Nature's casual work ! They bear 
A semblance strange of Power intelligent, 
And of design not wholly worn away." 

Wordsworth, The Excursion. 

| HE island of Guernsey still contains many of 
those rude and ponderous erections commonly 
known by the name of Cromlechs, or Druids 
altars. The upright pillar of stone or rude obelisk, 
known to antiquaries by the Celtic name of Menhir also 
exists among us. Many of these ancient monuments 
have no doubt disappeared with the clearing of the 
land and the enormous amount of quarrying, and many 
have doubtless been broken up into building materials, 
or converted into fences and gateposts. But the 
names of estates and fields still point out where they 
once existed. Thus we find more than one spot with 


the appelation of " Pouquelaye."* " Longue Eocque," 
or " Longue Pierre," and the names of " Les Camps 
Dolents, " " Les Eocquettes, " and "Les Tuzes" 
indicate the sites of monuments which have long since 

The researches carried on with so much care and 
intelligence by Mr. Lukis have clearly proved that the 
Cromlechs were sepulchral ; perhaps the burial places 
of whole tribes, or at least of the families of the 
chieftains. This does not preclude the popular notion 
of their having been altars, for it is well known that 
many pagan nations were in the habit of offering 
sacrifices on the tombs of their dead. 

The following is a list of the principal Druidical 
structures, etc., which we can identify, with an account 
of the traditional beliefs attached to them of their 
origin, etc. : 

The large Cromlech at L'Ancresse called " L'Autel 
des Vardes." 

The smaller Cromlech in the centre of L'Ancresse, 
with a portion of another similar structure to the 
east of it. 

A small portion of a Cromlech at La Mare es 
Mauves, on the eastern base of the Vardes, almost 
in front of the target belonging to the Eoyal Guernsey 

* The name of " Pouquelaie " given in various districts of Normandy, and in the 
Anglo-Norman Isles to megalithic monuments appears to be composed of two 
Celtic words, of which the latter, the Breton lee-h or Uh means a flat stone. 
The former of these words pouque, some etymologists say is derived from a 
Celtic word meaning, To kiss, or adore and thus " Pouquelaie " the stone we 
adore ; but many others think with equal probability that Pouque is derived 
from the same root from whence we get Puck, the mad sprite Shakespeare has 
so well described in his "Midsummer's Night's Dream." The pixies, or Cornish 
and Devonshire fairies, and the Phooka, or goblin of the Irish, are evidently of 
the same family. 




11 La Eoque Balan." 

" La Eoque qui Sonne " (destroyed). 

" Le Tombeau du Grand Sarrazin," in the district 
called Fortcainp (destroyed). 

" L'Autel de Dehus," near above. 

Small Cromlech at " La Vieille Hougue " (destroyed). 

" Le Trepied " or the " Catioroc." 

" Menhir " or " Longue Pierre ' : at Eichmond. 

* " Creux es Fees " in the parish of St. Pierre-du- 

"La Longue Eoque" or "Palette es Fees"* at 
the Pay sans. 

* " La Eoque des Fees " (destroyed). 

*"Le Gibet des Fees" (destroyed). 

" La Chaire de St. Bonit ' : (destroyed). 

In the Island of Herm there are six or eight 
mutilated remains of Cromlechs. In Lihou, none are 
left. In Sark, none are left. 

It will be seen that the druidical stones are believed 
to be the favourite haunt of the fairy folk, who live 
in the ant hills which are frequently to be found in 
their vicinity, and who would not fail to punish the 
audacious mortal who might venture to remove them. 


This consists of five enormous blocks of granite, 
laid horizontally on perpendicular piles, as large as 
their enormous covering. Around it, the remains of 


* In Traditions ct Superstitions de la Haute Bretagne, M. Paul Scbillot, says : " En general 
Ics dolmens sont appeles grottes aux fees, ou roches aux fees ; c'est en quelque sorte uue 
desigation generiquc (p. 5). Les noms font .allusion a des fees, aux lutins, parfois aux saints 
ou au diable. Corame on le verra dans les depositions qui suivent, c'est a ces memes 
personnages que les paysans attribuent 1'erection des Megalithes (p. 8.), etc. 

In Croyances et Legetides du Centre de la France, par Laisnel de la Salle, he says, Tome I., 
page 100: " Les fees se plaisent surtout a errer parmi les nombreux monuments druidiques. 
, . . ou se dressent encore les vieux autels, la sont toujours presentes les vieilles divinites." 


a circle of stones, of which the radius is thirty-three 
feet, and the centre of which coincides with the 
tomb. Mr. Metivier says in his " Souvenirs 
Historiques de Guernesey " that this " Cercle de la 
Plaine," in Norse Land Kretz, on this exposed elevation, 
could not fail to attract the attention of the Franks, 
Saxons, and Normans, and thus gave its name to 
the surrounding district. 

In it were found bones, stone hatchets, hammers, 
skulls, limpet shells, etc., etc. 

It is perhaps to this latter fact that we must 
attribute the idea which is entertained by the 
peasantry that hidden treasures, when discovered by 
a mortal, are transformed in appearance by the demon 
who guards them into worthless shells. 


" La Koque Balan " was situated at the Mielles, in 
the Yale parish. It is supposed by some to have taken 
its name from Baal, Belenus, (the Sun God), the Apollo 
of the Gauls, whom the Thuriens, a Grecian colony, 
called Ballen, "Lord and King," and to whom they 
dedicated a temple at Ba'ieux. The custom of lighting 
fires in honour of Bel or Baal continued in Scotland 
and Ireland almost to the beginning of this century. 
In Guernsey, at Midsummer, on the Eve of St. John's 
Day, June 24th, the people used to go to this rock 
and there dance on its summit, which Mr. Metivier 
describes in 1825 as being quite flat. The refrain of 
an old ballad proved this: 

" J'iron tous a la St. Jean 
Dansair a la Eoque Balan." 

Some people conjecture this rock to be the base 
of a balancing, or Logan stone, and others again that 



it was the site where Dom Mathurin, Prior of St. 
Michel, weighed in the balances the commodities of 
his tenants. But the most probable supposition is 
that it was named after the Ballen family, former 
residents of this neighbourhood. 
Near this rock stood 


This was the name given by the peasantry to a large 
stone which formerly stood on the borders of L'Ancresse, 
in the Yale parish. There is no doubt that it formed 
part of a Cromlech, and it is said that when struck it 
emitted a clear ringing sound. It was looked upon 
in the neighbourhood as something supernatural, and 
great was the astonishment and consternation of the 
good people of the Clos du Valle, when Mr. Hocart, 
of Belval, the proprietor of the field in which it stood, 
announced his intention of breaking it up in order to 
make doorposts and lintels for the new house he was 
on the point of building. In vain did the neighbours 
represent that stone was not scarce in the Yale, and 
that there was no necessity for destroying an object 
of so much curiosity. No arguments could prevail 
with him, not even the predictions of certain grey- 
headed men, the oracles of the parish, who assured him 
that misfortune was sure to follow his sacrilegious act. 
He was one of those obstinate men, who, the more they 
are spoken to, the less will they listen to reason, and 
finally the stone-cutters were set to work on the stone. 

But now a circumstance occurred which would have 
moved any man less determined than Hocart from his 
purpose. Every stroke of the hammer on the stone 
was heard as distinctly at the Church of St. Michel 
du Yalle, distant nearly a mile, as if the quarrymen 


were at work in the very churchyard itself ! * Orders 
were nevertheless given to the men to continue their 
work. The stone was cut into building materials, and 
the new house was rapidly approaching completion 
without accident or stoppage. Hocarfc laughed at the 
predictions of the old men, who had foretold all sorts 
of disasters. 

At last the day arrived when the carpenters were 
to quit the house. Two servant maids, or, as others 
have it, a servant man and a maid, were sent at an 
early hour to assist in cleaning and putting things to 
rights for the reception of the family, but at eight 
o'clock in the morning a fire broke out in the house, 
arid its progress was so rapid that the poor servants 
had not time to save themselves, but perished in the 
flames. Before noon the house was one heap of 
smoking ruins, but it could never be discovered how 
the fire had originated. 

Hocart's misfortunes, however, were not at an 
end. Some part of the rock had been cut into 
paving stones for the English market, and the refuse 
broken up into small fragments for making and 
repairing roads. In the course of the year the one and 
the other were embarked for England on board of two 
vessels in which Hocart had an interest as shareholder, 
but, strange to say, both vessels perished at sea. 

Hocart himself went to reside in Alderney, but was 
scarcely settled there when a fire broke out and 
destroyed his .new dwelling. 

* I have heard that the strokes of the hammer were heard in the town when 
La Roque qui Sonne was broken up. A spot was shewn me some years since us 
the site where this ston^ stood. I cannot exactly define the spot, but know it 
was to the east oi the Vale Parochial School. From John de GJ/-IS, Esq., of 
Lcit Rouvets. 

H 2 



Smith Street, A.D. 1870. 


He then determined on returning to Guernsey, but 
when close to land a portion of the rigging of the 
vessel on board which he sailed, fell on his head, 
fractured his skull, and he died immediately.* 

There is another instance given of the ill luck which 
waits on those who interfere with the Cromlech and 
disturb the repose of the mighty deadf in the "Legend 
of La Haye du Puits," which is drawn from an ancient 
chronicle and published in versified form by " M. A. C.," 
with extracts from Mrs. White's notes. The legend 
runs thus : 

In the reign of Henry II. of England Geoffrey of 
Anjou raised a rebellion against him in Normandy. Not 
wishing to be a rebel, Sir Kichard of La Haye du Puits, 
a noble Norman knight, fled from thence to Guernsey, 
and landed in Saints' Bay. He settled in Guernsey 
and proceeded to build himself a house, which he 
named after his Norman mansion " La Haye du Puits." 
Unfortunately for himself, in so doing he destroyed an 
old Cromlech. All the inhabitants told him that he 
would in consequence become cursed, and a settled 
gloom descended upon him. Nothing could cheer him ; 
he felt he was a doomed man. At last he thought 
that perhaps by resigning the house and dedicating it 
to God he might avert his fate. So he gave it to 
the Church, and turned it into a nunnery, making it 
a condition that the abbess and nuns should daily 
pray that the curse might be removed from him. 

He then set sail from Rocquaine Bay, for France, 

* From the late Mr. Thomas Hocart, of Marshfield, nephew of the Hocai t 
to whom these events occurred. 

EDITOR'S NOTH. + In Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute Bretagne, Vol. I., p. 32, 
M. Sebillot says : " En beaucoup d'endroits, on pense qu'il cst dangereux de detruire les 
pierres druidiques, parceque les esprits qui les ont construits ne manqucraicnt pas de se 
vender." See also " JVmelie Bosquet, p. 186 of La Nornmndie Romanesque." 


the rebellion being over, and his wife, Matilda, 
awaiting him in their old home. But on his way 
his ship was captured by Moorish pirates, and he was 
taken as prisoner to Barbary. When there, his handsome 
presence made so much impression on the governor's 
wife that she entreated he might be allowed to guard 
the tower where she resided with her maidens. 

What was his astonishment when one of them 
looked oui>, and, recognising a fellow countryman, 
called out and told him that she was Adele, 
daughter of his old friend and neighbour, Eanulph. 
She also had been taken prisoner by these pirates, 
by whom her father had been killed ; she implored 
him to effect her escape. She handed him her jewels, 
and with these he bribed their jailers, and he, she, 
and her nurse Alice, all managed to escape to 
France. He took her to the Norman " Haye du 
Puits," and there, according to the old chronicle, he 
found his wife, Matilda, and all " in a right prosperous 
and flourishing condition." From there Adele married 
a Hugh d'Estaile, a young Norman knight, high in 
the favour of King Henry. 

But the spirits of the Cromlech were not yet 
appeased. Sir KichaTd could not shake off the 
brooding care and haunting night-mares which always 
oppressed him, though he tried to propitiate heaven 
by building two churches in Normandy, "St. Marie 
du Pare," and "St. Michel du Bosq," "for the 
deliverance of his soul," but it was of no avail, and 
he died, a wretched and broken-down man. Even the 
nuns in the Convent of the Haye du Puits were so 
harassed and distressed, that finally they decided to 
leave it ; it is said that one unquiet nun haunts the 
house to this day. Since then it has passed through 


many hands, but tradition says that for many years it 
never brought good fortune to its possessors. 

In the district called Le Tort Camp, near Paradis, 
was one of the principal Cromlechs at the Yale, now 
quarried away, called " L'Autel," or " Le Tombeau 
du Grand Sarrazin." Who " Le Grand Sarrazin " 
was, it is now impossible to say. He is also called 
Le Grand Geffroi, and his castle from whence the 
name " Le Castel " stood where the Church of Ste. 
Marie-du-Castel now stands. He must have been one 
of those piratical sea kings, who, under the various 
appellations of Angles, Saxons, Danes, and Northmen 
or Normans, issued from the countries bordering on 
the North Sea and the Baltic, and invaded the more 
favoured regions of Britain and Gaul. The name 
" Geffroy," (Gudfrid, or "la paix de Dieu ") seems 
to confirm this tradition. As to the term " Sarrazin " 
Saracen, although originally given to the Mahometans 
who invaded the southern countries of Europe, it came 
to be applied indifferently to all marauding bands ; 
and Wace, the poet and historian, a native of Jersey, 
who lived and wrote in the reign of Henry II., in 
speaking of the descent of the Northmen on these 
islands, calls them expressly " La Gent Sarrazine." 
Among the many Geoffreys of the North whom history 
celebrates, there is one, a son of King Regnar, who 
may be the one celebrated in our local traditions. 
Charles the Bald yielded to him " a county on the 
Sequanic shore." 

At that time the coast of Gaul was divided into three 
sea-borders, namely, the Flemish, the Aquitanian, and 
the Sequanic, called " Sequanicum littus " by Paul 
Warnefrid, who places one of these islands near it, 


That his castle stood at one time on the site of 
the present church, is confirmed by the discoveries 
which have frequently been made in digging graves, 
of considerable masses of solid masonry, which appear 
to be the foundations of former outworks of the 
fortress. It is even possible that some portions of 
the walls of the church may be the remains of the 
earlier building. There are also in the neighbourhood 
"Le Fief Geffroi " and " Le Camp Geffroi."* 


Quite close to where " Le Tombeau du Grand 
Sarrazin" was situated, close to the Pointe au Norman, 
in the environs of Paradis,f in the Vale parish, and 
bordering on the Hougues d'Enfer, is the Pouqueleh 
de Dehus. This spot, as well as some fields in the 
Castel parish called " Les Dehusets " or " Les Tuzets," 
are supposed to be favourite resorts of the fairies. 

M. de Yillemarque, in his Barzas-Breiz, the work 
so well known to folk-lorists, tells us that the Bretons 
gave the imps or goblins, whom they call pigmies, 
amongst others the name of " Duz," diminutive 
" Duzik," a name they bore in the time of St. 
Augustine ; and he also says that they, like fairies, 


* Referring to " Le Grand Sarrazin," Dupont says in his "Hisioire du Cotentin et ses 
lies, Vol I., p. 140-41 : " Le personnage ainsi designe ne peut etre que 1'un de ces 
avanturiers Norses qui furent souvent confondus avec les Sarrazins. Wace lui-meme appelle les 
envahisseurs des lies les " gent Sarraztne." Le "Grand Gefiroi " etait, selon toute vrai 
semblance le celebre Jarl Godefrid ou Godefray fils d'Heriald. Son pere, apres avoir detruit 
1'eglise du Mont Saint Michel fut assassine par les comtes francs, et pour le venger, il so 
jeta sur la Frise et sur la Neustrie. Apres trois ans de ravage il se fit, en 850, conceder par 
Charles-le-Chauve une c^rtaine etendue de terre, que le savant danois Suhne conjecture avoir 
etc situee dans notre province. L'histoire generale, on le voit, confirme done singulierement la 
tradition conservee a Guernesey, en lui donnant une date precise ; et cette tradition elle-meme 
rend a peu pres certain le fait fort interessant, et si souvent obscur, d'un etablisseraent perma- 
ment des Normands en Neustrie, plus d'un demi-siecle avant sa prise en possession par Rolle ; 
elle prouve, enfin, le role important que les lies du Contentin remplirent durant ces epoques 

+ Pres de Louvigne-du-Desert, est un groupe de dix a douze blocs gigantiques de granite. On 
a. aussi donne le nom de " Rue de Paradis, du Purgatoire, et de I'Enfer " aux intervalles 
i'troits qui separent ces enormes blocs. Traditions de la Haute Bretagne, par Paul Sebillot, 
T. I., p. 34- 


inhabit Dolmens. Mr. Metivier explains the name 
" Dehus " or " Dhuss " as the " God of the Dead, 
and of Eiches," the Dis of the Gauls in the time of 
Caesar, Tlieos in Greek, Deus in Latin le Dus, or le 
Due. He says " Our Delmssets are nothing but Dhus i 
you, spirits of the dead and goblins of the deep." 

The exterior circle measures sixty feet in diameter, 
by forty in length, and the direction is from east to 
west. The enormous block of granite which serves as 
a roof to the western chamber is the most striking 
part of it. At the extremity of this chamber is a cell, 
the outer compartment eleven feet in length by nine 
in width. The adjoining one is of the same length. 
On the northern side a singular appendix in the form 
of a side chamber joins the two smaller rooms just 
described. There has also been discovered a fifth cell, 
the roof of which was formed of granite resting on 
three or four pillars, at the corner of the northern 
chamber. But the most interesting discovery of all 
was that of two kneeling skeletons, side by side, but 
placed in opposite positions, that, is to say, one 
looking towards the north, the other towards the 
south. Besides these, bones of persons of both sexes 
and all ages, a stone hatchet, some pottery and limpet 
shells, were also found inside this place of sepulchre. 
It was long supposed to be haunted by fairies, imps, 
and ghosts, perhaps the same spirits who, in the 
haunted field of " Les Tuzes," are reported to have 
removed the foundations of the intended Parish Church 
of the Castel to its present site. There is also a "Le 
Dehuzel " in the neighbourhood of the Celtic remains 
near L'Ere"e. 

This Cromlech is on a rocky promontory, south- 


west of Perelle Bay, in the beautiful parish of St. 
Saviour's. The derivation of its name, " Castiau-Eoc" 
as it is properly is from the " Castelh Carreg" 
11 Castle Bock ' : of the Gauls. As one approaches 
it one is struck by the vestiges of Cromlechs with 
their circles, and bits of " Longues Eoques." In olden 
days, before so much of the surroundings were 
quarried away, this must have been only one among 
many other conspicuous objects down there. The names 
" La Boque Fendue," " La Roque au Tonnerre," 
" Plateau es Boques," " La Pieche des Grandes 
Boques du Castiau-Boc," which are mentioned in 
various " Livres de Perquages," are all that remain 
of these ancient remains. Much to be regretted is 
the disappearance of the " Portes du Castiau-Boc," 
which might perhaps have helped us to define with 
some exactitude where this problematic castle once 
stood, and perhaps identify it with the fortified mounts 
of the Celts and Irish. It is noted in our island 
annals for being the midnight haunt of our witches 
and wizards. In the trials for witchcraft held under 
Amias de Carteret in the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, it was there that his trembling victims 
confessed to having come and danced on Friday nights, 
in honour of the gigantic cat or goat with black 
fur, called " Baal-Berith " or " Barberi," nowadays 
"Lucifer." Near this rock was the "Chapel of the 
Holy Virgin " on Lihou Island, now in ruins, and it 
is" said that the witches even defied the influence of 
"the Star of the Sea," shouting in chorus while they 

" Qu&, hou, hou, 
Marie Lihou." 

This monument is like the " Tables en Trepied," 


and analogous to the " Lhech y Drybedh " of the 
county of Pembroke, in Wales. There were altars in 
this form and of this description in almost every 
canton of the island. One, near the Chapel of St. 
George, is quite destroyed, and there are now no 
traces left of another between the Haye-du-Puits, and 
the Villocq. In the environs of the Castiau-Roc 
bones and arms have been found.* 


This Cromlech is situated on the Houmet Nicolle 
at the point of L'Eree, (so called from the branch 
of the sea, Eire, which separates it from the islet of 
Notre Dame de Lihou). This island, which once had 
upon it a chapel and a priory dedicated to " Notre 
Dame de la Roche," was always considered so sacred 
a spot that even to-day the fishermen salute it in 

This Creux is a Dolmen of the nature of those 
which are called in France " allees couvertes, " 
perfectly well preserved, and partly covered witly earth. 
The researches which have been made in these 
ancient monuments of antiquity prove them to have been 
places of sepulchre. This one consists of a chamber 
seven feet high, and covered with a roof of two blocks 
of granite, each fifteen feet long and ten broad. The 
entrance faces east, and is only two feet eight inches 
wide, but soon enlarges, and the interior is almost 
uniformly eleven feet wide. 

This is, as its name would lead one to - suppose, a 
favourite haunt of the fairies, or perhaps, 'to speak 
more correctly, their usual dwelling place. 

* See Archaological Journal, Vol. I., p. 202, for an engraving of this Casti-iq-Roc, 


It is related that a man who happened to be lying 
on the grass near it, heard a voice within calling 
out : " La paille, la paille, le fouar est caud." (The 
shovel,* the oven is hot). To which the answer 
was immediately returned : " Bon ! J'airon de la 
gdche bientot." (Good ! We shall have some cake 

Another version from Mrs. Savidan is that some 
men were ploughing in a field belonging to Mr. Le 
Cheminant, just below the Cromlech, when the voice 
was heard saying " La paille," etc. One of them 
answered, " Bon ! J'airon de la gdclie" and almost 
immediately afterwards a cake, quite hot, fell into 
one of the furrows. One of the men immediately ran 
forward and seized it, exclaiming that he would have 
a piece to take home to his wife, but on stooping to 
take it up he received such a buffet on the head as 
stretched him at full length on the ground. It is 
from here that the fairies issue on the night of the 
full moon to dance on Mont Saint till daybreak.f 


In a field in the parish of St. Pierre-du-Bois, on 
the way to L'Eree and in the neighbourhood of the 
secluded valley of St. Brioc and the woody nook in 
which the ancient chapel dedicated to that Saint once 
stood, stands one of those Celtic monuments, many of 
which are still to be seen in Brittany and Cornwall, 


* " La pa'ille a four, is, in the country, usually a wooden shovel with a long handle. It is 
used for putting things in the oven when hot, and taking them out when baked." 

+ This is still believed, for in 1896, when my aunt, Mrs. Curtis, bought some land on Mont 
Saint, and built a house there, the country people told her that it was very unlucky to go 
there and disturb the fairy people in the spot where they dance. 

My cousin, Miss Le Pelley, writes in 1896 from St. Pierre-dn-Bois, saying " The people 
still believe the Creux des Fees and Le Trepied ' to have been the fairies' houses, and as 
proof one woman told me that when they dug down they found all kinds of pots and pans 
and china things." 


and which are known in those countries by the name 
of " Menhir." This word in the Breton tongue, and 
in its cognate dialect the ancient language of 
Cornwall, signifies " long stone." The name which 
similar monuments bear in Normandy and Brittany 
in this island is " longue pierre " or " longue roque," 
a literal translation of the Celtic name. There must 
have been at one time many " longues roques " in 
Guernsey. Another still stands in a field near the 
road at Eichmond. There was in 1581 " la pieche 
de la longue pierre, la pierre seante dedans," a part 
of the Fief es Cherfs, at the Castel. There was also 
" la Eoque Seante dans le courtil de la Hougue au 
Comte," and the " Eoque-a-Boeuf dans le Courtil 
au Sucq du chemin de 1'eglise," near St. George, but 
these latter have long since disappeared, though a 
house near the field still bears the name. 

Antiquaries are very much divided in opinion as to 
the original destination of these singular masses of 
rock ; it is not wonderful that they should prove a 
puzzle and a source of wonder to the unlettered 
peasantry. How were such immense blocks placed 
upright, and for what purpose ? The agency of 
supernatural beings is an easy answer to the question, 
and some such cause is usually assigned for their 
origin by the tradition of the country. Sometimes 
they are the work of fairies, sometimes of giants 
and magicians, and sometimes they are said to be 
mortals changed into stone by an offended deity for 
some sacrilegious act, or heroes petrified as a lasting 
testimony of their exploits. 

The Menhir at St. Peter's-in-the-Wood stands in a 
field at Les Pay sans, so called from the name of the 
extinct family who once possessed it. It is over ten 


feet in height, and about three feet wide, and the 
people's name for it, "Palette es fa'ies " the fairies' 
battledore, describes it exactly. Tradition says that 
in former days a man who was returning homewards 
at a very late hour of the night, or who had risen 
before the lark to visit his nets in Rocquaine Bay, 
was astonished at meeting a woman of very diminutive 
stature coming up the hill from the sea- shore. 
She was knitting, while carrying in her apron 
something" with as much care and tenderness as if it 
had been a clutch of eggs, or a newly - born babe. 
The man's curiosity was excited, and he determined 
to watch the little woman. He therefore concealed 
himself behind a hedge and followed her movements. 
At last the woman stopped, and great was the 
astonishment of the countryman when he saw her 
produce a mass of stone of at least fifteen feet in 
length, and stick it upright in the midst of the field, 
with as much ease as if she were merely sticking a 
pin into a pincushion. He then comprehended that 
the unknown female could be no other than a denizen 
of fairy-land, but what could be her object in erecting 
such a monument ? The people are at -a loss in 
finding an answer to this question. Some say the 
stone was placed there by the fairies to serve them 
as a mark when they played at ball.* 

There is another story told to account for " La 
Palette es Fa'ies." It is well known that Rocquaine 

* From Miss Lane, afterwards Mrs. Lane-Clarke. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. See in Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute Bretagne par Paul 
Lebillot, Tome I., p. 10 and n, etc. : " Les Roches aux Fees qui sont vers Saint- Didier et 
Marpire (Ille-et-Vilainc) ont etc clevees par les Fees ; elles prenaicnt les plus grosses pierres 
du pays et les apportaicnt dans leurs tabliers. . . . Pres du bois du Rocher en Pleudihan, 
sur la route de Dinan a Dol, est un dolmen que les fees, disent les gens du pays, ont 
apporte dant leurs ' devantieres ' (tabliers)." 


and its environs was the abode par excellence of the 
fairy folk, and in the valley of St. Brioc two of these 
fairies once lived. Whether they were father and son, 
or what other relationship existed between them, is not 
known, but among the human inhabitants of the valley 
they went by the names of Le Grand Colin and Le 
Petit Colin. They were fond of sports, and occasionally 
amused themselves with a game of ball on the open 
and tolerably level fields of Les Paysans. On one 
occasion they had placed their boundary marks, and 
had played some rounds, when Le Grand Colin struck 
the ball with such force that it bounded off quite 
out of sight. Le Petit Colin, whose turn it was 
to play, called out to his companion, with some degree 
of ill - humour, that the ball had disappeared beyond 
the bounds, on which Le Grand Colin struck his bat 
with force into the ground, and said he would play 
no more. The bat still remains in the centre of the 
field, and the ball an enormous spherical boulder is 
pointed out on the sea-shore near Les Pezeries, fully 
a mile and a half off.* 


A little beyond the village called " Le Bourg de la 
Foret " there stood formerly an upright stone, which 
was known by the name of "La Eoque des Fa'ies," 
the fairies' stone. It was unfortunately destroyed when 
the road was improved. The people in the neighbour- 
hood were rather shy of passing it at night, as it 
was believed that the place was haunted, and that 
fairies held their nightly revels there. Like other 
stones of a similar nature it was said to have been 

* From William Le Poidevin. 
EDITOR'S NOTES. These two traditions are still told by the country people in 1896. 


placed there by the elves to serve as a goal or mark 
in their games of ball or bowls ; and, according to 
some accounts, the " Longue Eoque ' : at " Les 
Paysans " in the adjoining parish of St. Pierre-du- 
du-Bois was the other boundary. It is not at all 
unlikely that these stones may really have served for 
such a purpose in days of yore, if not for the fairy- 
folk, at least for mortals. What is more probable 
than that the peasantry of the islands should have 
had the same games as existed until lately in 
Cornwall under the name of " hurling," and in 
Brittany under the name of " La Soule," as well as 
elsewhere, in which the young men of the neighbour- 
ing districts met at certain seasons on the confines of 
their respective parishes, and contended which should 
first bear a ball to a spot previously fixed on as the 
goal in each ? 

It is said that the spot where the stone in 
question stood was originally fixed on as the site of 
the Parish Church of the Forest ; but that, after 
all the materials had been got together for the 
purpose of laying the foundations of the sacred edifice 
they were removed in the short space of one night by 
the fairies to the place where the church now stands, 
the little people thus resenting the intrusion on their 


A Celtic monument of the kind commonly known to 
antiquaries by the name of ' ' trilethon ' ' is said to 
have existed formerly on the Common at L'Ancresse, 
near La Hougue Patris. It is described by old people 
who remember to have seen it in their youth as 

* From Mrs. Richard Murton, born Caroline Le Tullier. 


consisting of three upright stones or props, supporting 
a fourth, overhanging the others. It was known by 
the name of "Le Gibet des FaTes." Near it was a 
fountain called " La Fontaine des Fa'ies," the water 
of which, although not plentiful, was never known 
to fail entirely, even in the very driest seasons ; it 
is said to have been below the surface in a kind of 
artificial cave formed by huge blocks of stone, and 
entered by two openings on different sides. The 
proprietor of the land many years ago broke up the 
stones for building purposes and converted the fountain 
into a well.* 



In the course of some works recently (1878) under- 
taken for reseating the Parish Church of Ste. Marie- 
du-Castel, two discoveries were made, which are of 
great interest. One is a sort of oven or furnace, 


* They are still firmly convinced in the Vale parish of the sanctity of Druidical stones, and 
various stones, which, are not generally regarded as being Druidical remains, were pointed out 
to me by Miss Falla, (whose ancestors for hundreds of years have been landed proprietors at 
the Vale), as being sacred, and, she added, that her father and grandfathers would have 
considered it sacrilege to touch them. 

Such are the large upright stones in the field Le Courtil-es-Arbres, immediately 
opposite the house called Sohier, which is owned by Miss Falla, who said that her um-le, 
at one time, wished to quarry in that held, but was deterred by his neighbours, who pointed 
out to him the folly and impiety of meddling with " les pierres saintes. ' Beyond the Ville- 
fes-Pies is a field containing large stones ; it has been extensively quarried, but the stones 
have been religiously preserved, and are seen on an isolated hillock in the field, their height 
being intensified by the deep quarries round them. 

The cottage which is built on the remains of St. Magloire's Chapel, is supposed to be 
built on its own old foundation stone, as the workmen when buildirg the cottage, thought 
it would be sacrilege to interfere with it. 

There is a field called La Houmiere, opposite >n estate called La Moye, which also belonged 
to the Fallas for many generations, and is now in the possession of Miss Falla's brother. 
In this field is one solitary upright stone, and to this stone a most extraordinary superstition 
is attached. It is a grass field and is grown in hay, but for generations the mowers have 
always been forbidden to cut the hay round and past the stone till all the other hay has 
been cut and carted, for if they do, however fine the weather may previously have been, it 
invariably brings on a storm of wind and rain ! So, taught by experience, it has always been 
the rule, and still continues, that, though the outer edge of the field may be cut, the stone 
itself and its " entourage " are not to be touched till the very last, for fear of bringing on 
the rain in the middle of the hay making. (From Miss Falla). 


which was found below the surface of the floor of 
the church, and immediately under the apex of the 
westernmost arch, between the nave and the south 
aisle. It lies north and south, extending into the 
nave ; but what appears to have been the mouth 
does not reach southward beyond the arch, no part 
of it being" in the south aisle. If this aisle is really 
a more recent addition to the original building, the 
mouth of the furnace may have been at one time 
in an outer wall. The whole length is eight feet, the 
width two feet three inches, and the depth three feet 
six inches. The sides are roughly masoned and the 
northern end slightly rounded. A length of about 
three feet at the south end is arched over with stones, 
which have evidently been subjected to great heat. 
This part is immediately under the arch between the 
nave and the south aisle. The remaining five feet of 
the excavation retain no traces whatever of an arch, 
and are situated entirely in the nave. The floor of 
the excavation is of hard compact gravel, covered with 
ashes, among which were several pieces of charcoal 
and a few small fragments of brass, perhaps bell- 
metal. The northern end seems to have been used 
as a sort of ossuary, into which the bones dug up 
in making fresh interments in the church were thrown 
pell-mell, the remains of no less than nine skulls, 
mingled -with other osseous remains, having been found 
here. These bore no marks of fire, from which we 
may conclude that the place had ceased to be used 
as an oven or furnace when they were deposited 
there. I had forgotten to mention that at the south 
end of the excavation was found a tile of about one 
and a-half inches in thickness, twelve inches in length, 
and nine inches in width, with a notch in it for the 


fingers, such as we see in the sliding lid of a box. 
A few fragments of moulded tiles were found mingled 
with the earth, which the architect believed to be 
Eoman. With the exception of a few coins, no other 
Roman remains have ever been found in Guernsey. 
The nave of the church and the westernmost bay of 
the aisle had, in olden days, been walled off from the 
rest of the building, and served as a sort of vestibule 
and place where the cannons and other military stores 
belonging to the Militia or trained bands of the parish 
were kept. Perhaps the furnace may have been used 
for casting balls, of which one at least has been 
found in the building. Some think it may have been 
used for the casting of a bell, but the bells at present 
in the tower throw no light on the subject, having 
been re-cast in England about the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. There is no appearance of any 
chimney or flue leading from the furnace ever having 
existed, and the reason of its position within the 
church, and the use to which it was put, must, we 
fear, ever remain an enigma. 

After this long digression we will go on to the 
other discovery made at the same time ; which 
presents another puzzle equally unsolved. 

Just within the chancel, at about an equal distance 
from the north and south walls, about a foot below 
the surface, was found a mass of granite, lying east 
and west, and turned over on its left side. It has 
ah 1 the appearance of a natural boulder somewhat 
fashioned by art, and cannot be described better than 
by saying that it is in shape like a mummy -case, 
the back being rounded and slightly curved and the 
front nearly flat, with the exception of the upper 
portion of the figure, which indicates that it was 

I 2 


intended to represent a female. The total length is 
six feet six inches, the width across the shoulders 
two feet three inches, and the portion corresponding 
with the head one foot three inches from the top of 
the forehead to the shoulders. It tapers slightly 
towards the foot. On each side of the head, extending 
from the forehead to the breast, are two ridges raised 
above the surface of the stone, which may have been 
intended to represent either a veil or tresses of hair. 
There are no traces of any features remaining, but 
what should be the face bears evident marks of 
having been subjected to the action of a hammer or 
chisel, as also does the right breast. 

The stone is altogether too rude and mis-shapen to 
warrant the supposition that it can have been 
intended to cover a grave, although its place in the 
chancel, and its lying with its head . to the west, may 
appear to favour this idea ; but what renders the 
discovery of this stone more interesting and gives 
rise to conjecture, is the fact that in the churchyard 
of St. Martin-de-la-Beilleuse another stone of about 
the same size, precisely similar in outline, but in a 
far better state of preservation, exists in the form of 
a gatepost. In this last the features, very coarsely 
sculptured, and only slightly raised on a flat surface, 
are distinctly visible ; a row of small knobs, intended 
either for curls or a chaplet encircles the forehead, 
and a sort of drapery in regular folds radiates from 
the chin to the shoulders and breasts, which are 
uncovered, leaving no doubt that in this case, as in 
the stone found in the Church of Ste. Marie-du- 
Castel, a female figure was intended to be represented. 
A confused idea exists among the parishioners of St. 
Martin's that the stone in their churchyard was once 


an idol ; and it is not many years ago that a 
puritanical churchwarden was with difficulty dissuaded 
from having it broken up, lest it should once more 
become an object of adoration. In fact the stone was 
broken in half by his orders, and had to be cemented 
together again. 

The Church of St. Martin's is called St. Mar-tin- 
de-la-Bellouse or Beilleuse, a name which an adjoining 
property bears to this day. The meaning of this word 
" Bellouse " or " Beilleuse " is unknown ; but if, as 
some have asserted, the early inhabitants of the 
British Isles worshipped a deity of the name of Bel, 
it is not impossible that there may have been some 
female divinity, with a name derived from the same 

It is certainly somewhat remarkable that two stones, 
so very similar in character, should exist in connection 
with two churches in the same island, and that one 
of them should have been found in so singular a 
position. One is tempted to believe that both churches 
may have been built on spots which had previously 
been set apart as places of heathen worship, and that 
in the case of Ste. Marie-du-Castel the idol had been 
defaced and buried in the earth to put a stop to the 
adoration paid to it. 

It is well known that up to the end of the 
seventeenth century the inhabitants of a district in 
the Department du Morbihan, in Brittany, adored 
with superstitious and obscene rites a rude stone 
image commonly know T n as " La Venus de Quinipilly," 
and which was certainly not a Christian image. May 
not the stones here described have served also as 
objects of worship ? The substitution of the Blessed 
Virgin for a female divinity is what one may 


reasonably suppose to have taken place, and the 
continuance of superstitious practices in connection 
with the idol may have led to its defacement and 
concealment below the floor of the sacred edifice.* 

The Antiquarian Society. Proceedings 1879. 


Ill BBJb| IC^cllUlIl^ 11 .IS L11U |raM1/n SillllL W bUO |KU1BU. 

Undoubtedly superstitious reverence used to be paid to it to within comparatively recent times, 
which probably accounts for the churchwarden wishing to have it removed. An old Miss 

" " 

in front of it, for it was holy " c'etait une pierre sainte " as she expressed it ; and an old 
man named Tourtel, well over eighty, said that when he was a boy it was feared" on la 
craignait " much more than they do now. 

There is a stone face, very much the same type as that of this figure, over the door of a 
house at the Villette. It is a house in the district called " La Marette," and belongs to 
some old Miss Olliviers. They can offer no explanation to account for its presence, but said 
that the house was covered with creepers, and it was only when some myrtle which covered 
it was blown down in a gale that it was discovered by their father to be there. Of course 
it may have belonged to some other old idol which was broken up, and afterwards used for 
building purposes, but no tradition lingers to account for it in any way. 

The earliest account of the Guernsey Cromlechs was contributed to Archaologia, Vol. 
XVIII, p. 25 \, by Joshua Gosselin, Esq., as follows: 

K.B., P.R.S., F.S.A. 

" Guernsey, November gth, 1811. 

" MY DEAR SIR, A small temporary redoubt was constructed some few years back, on a 
height near the shore, on the left of L'Ancresse Bay, three miles from the town in this 

who were employed in clearing away the sand, have assured me.' that there was a s 
closed the entrance into the temple, that some steps led down into it, and that th 
pavement of small pebbles, but I cannot vouch for the truth of these particulars. 

icre was a 
When I 

irom me loot ui iuo tuinpit: tucic enu IVHMUIU ui a. L.IIUIC UL stones wnicn prooaoiy surrounaco. 
it ; they are placed about a foot above the ground, and in general about two feet distant 
from each other. At about forty-two feet from the temple there appears to have been 
another circle of stones of a larger size than those of the inner circle, but there are very 



few of them remaining. As this temple stands upon the top of a hill, it is the intention of 
some gentlemen in the island to have so much of the sand on each side of it removed, as 
may render it visible to all the surrounding country. 

" We have three more such temples in this island, but not so complete, nor so large, as 
the one I have just described. One of these is situated near Paradis, at the Clos of the 
Vale, and is called ' La Pierre du Dehus.' It stands on a rising ground, and slopes towards 
the east-north-east. The stones are of a grey granite. The supporting, or upright stones, 
are two and a-half feet above the ground in the inside, and could not be more, as the bottom 
is rocky ; they form a parallelogram in the inside of twelve feet broad. 

" Another of these temples is seen at the Catioroc, at St. Saviour's, and the third is 
situated between L'Ancresse Bay and the Valle Church, and is partly concealed by furze. 

" Some years ago I discovered a very large Logan or rocking stone, or a rock at the 
opposite side of L'Ancresse Bay, which could easily be rocked by a child ; but within these 
three years it has been entirely destroyed, and no vestige of it now remains. An ancient 
manuscript says that this island was originally inhabited by fishermen, who were Pagans, and 
used to place large stones one upon another, near the sea shore, on which they performed their 
sacrifices. The stones of this kind, which are now extant, are certainly all situated near the 
sea shore, and this circumstance so far corroborates the information given in the manuscript. 

" I have the honour to be. Dear Sir, 

" Your obliged and very humble servant, 


This article is illustrated by plates drawn by the author, viz., " Temple of L'Ancresse in the 
Valle Parish, Guernsey," " Plan of the surface of the Temple at L'Ancresse," " Views of the 
Temple " called " La Pierre du Dehus," from the W.S.W. and the E.N.E. ;< Plan of the surface 
of Dehus," North and South Views of the " Temple at the Catioroc," and " The Temple among 
the Furze between L'Ancresse Bay and the Valle Church." 



Creux des F$ieg. 




1 Yon old grey stone, protected from the ray 

Of noontide suns 

And thou, grey stone, the pensive likeness keep 
Of a dark chamber where the mighty sleep : 
Far more than fancy to the influence bends 
When solitary nature condescends 
To mimic time's forlorn humanities." 

Wordsworth . 

' This is the fairy land : oh spight of spights 
We talk with goblins, owls, and elvish sprites." 


| HERE are many spots in Guernsey connected 
with stories and legends besides the Druidical 
remains. The caverns of the Creux des 
Fees and Creux Mahie ; the various curiously shaped 
rocks, formed by the hand of Nature, or by the 
wearing action of the waves ; the marks of footprints, 
whether human or diabolical, on various stones ; and 
above all the sacred fountains, which are still regarded 
as medicinal, have given rise to many a tradition, 
which, though they lose much of their charm from 
being translated from the quaint Guernsey French 
in which they are originally related, we will here 
endeavour to render. 


Between the bays of Vazon and Cobo is "found the 
peninsula of Houmet, and here is situated the " Creux 


des Fees." It is a small cavern, worn away by the 
action of the sea. The granite surrounding its mouth 
abounds in particles of mica, which glitter in the sun 
like streaks of gold. It can only be approached at 
low tide, and necessitates much scrambling over the 
rocks which are heaped round the mouth of the 
grotto. It is said that by a hole not larger than 
the mouth of an oven, you gain access to a spacious 
hall, hollowed out of the rock, that in the middle of 
this hall is a stone table on which are dishes, plates, 
drinking cups, and everything necessary for a large 
feast, all in stone, and all used by the fairies, but 
no one has had the courage to penetrate inside and 
test the truth of this assertion. It is also believed 
that beyond it there is a subterranean passage which 
leads to the bottom of St. Saviour's Church, which 
is distant more than two miles. This tradition of a 
subterranean passage leading to a church at a consi- 
derable distance is told of other caverns in Guernsey. 
Of the Creux Mahie, where there is also said to be 
a passage leading to St. Saviour's Church, of a large 
cave in Moulin Huet Bay, which is supposed to lead 
to a passage going straight to St. Martin's Church, 
and one at Saints' Bay, also supposed to lead to St. 
Saviour's Church. 


The whole of the southern coast of Guernsey, 
from Jerbourg, or St. Martin's Point, to Pleinmont 
in the parish of Torteval, is extremely precipitous, 
but abounding in picturesque beauties of no common 

EDITOR'S NOTE. " Le groupe le plus important de dcmeures de fees que j'aie rencontre est 
cclui des Houlcs (1'anglais hole, caverne, grotte)." ... " Elles se prolongent sous terre si 
loin, que personnq, dit-on, n'est alle jusqu'au fond .... parfois on les appelle Chambres 
des fees. II y en a ou Ton voit, dit-on, des tables de pierre sur lesquelles elles mangeaient, 
leurs sieges, et les berceaux en pierre de leurs enfants." Traditions et Superstitions de fa 
Haute Bretagne, p, 84. 


character. Bold headlands, with outlying granite rocks 
rising like pyramids and obelisks from the clear blue 
sea, alternating with caves and bays to which access 
is gained through deep glens and ravines, some richly 
wooded, some hemmed in on both sides by rugged 
hills, but through all of which a tiny rill of the 
purest water trickles, keeping up a perpetual verdure 
slopes covered in early spring with the golden 
blossoms of the gorse, in summer with the purple 
bells of the heather, and in autumn with the rich 
brown fronds of the withering bracken cliffs mantled 
in parts with luxuriant ivy, in other with many 
coloured lichens, and out of every crevice of which 
the thrift, the campion, and other flowers that delight 
in the vicinity of the sea, burst in wild profusion 
all combine to form pictures which the artist and 
the lover of nature are never tired of studying. 

The constant action of the waves for unnumbered 
centuries has worn out many caverns in these cliffs, 
the most considerable of which is that known by 
the name of " Le Creux Mahie," or as some old 
writers wrote it " Mahio," and it undoubtedly took 
its name, so says Mr. Metivier, from its ancient 
proprietor, the king of the infernal regions. 
" The Prince of darkness is a gentleman ; 
Modo he's called and Mahu." 

King Lear. Act 3, Sc. 4. 

The Hindoos have the same name in their Maha- 
Deua, a giant of the family of the dives or demons.* 
In the province of Mayo, there is a Sorcerer or 
Druid, the Priest of Mayo, who lives in a cavern, 
and is called " the King of the Waters."" 

* Recherches Asiatiyues, Tome I., Traduit de 1' Anglais, 


It is also sometimes called " Le Creux Eobilliard," 
from a family of that name on whose property it 
was situated. It lies in the parish of Torteval, and 
is reached by a narrow pathway, winding down the 
almost precipitous side of a steep cliff, into a small 
creek worn out by the sea between the headlands. 
The cave itself, there can be no doubt, must have 
been formed by the waves wearing away gradually a 
vein of decomposed rock, softer than that which 
forms the sides and roof. At some remote period a 
large portion of the rock which forms the roof of the 
cavern has given way, and has partially blocked up 
the entrance, leaving only a long low fissure through 
which access can be had to the interior, and forming 
a sort of platform of solid stone, which effectually 
cuts off any further encroachment on the part of the 
sea. A steep descent over broken fragments of rock 
leads down to the floor of the cave, which appears 
to be nearly on a level with the beach at the foot 
of the platform. A glimmering light from the 
entrance enables one to see that the rock arches 
overhead in a sort of dome, and a bundle of dry 
furze or other brushwood, set on fire, lights it up 
sufficiently to bring out all the details. It is a weird 
sight ; as the flickering flames illumine one by one 
the various masses of rock that are piled up to the 
roof at the extremity of the cavern, and disclose the 
entrances to two or three smaller caves. These are, 
in reality, of no great depth, but they are sufficiently 
mysterious to have given rise to more than one report 
concerning them, and there are but few of the pea- 
santry who would be bold enough to attempt to 
explore their recesses. It is firmly believed by them 
that there is a passage extending all the way under 


ground as far as the Church of St. Saviour's, about 
a mile distant as the crow flies ; and it is also 
affirmed that there is an entrance through a small 
hole to an extensive apartment, in the midst of 
which stands a stone table, on which are set out 
dishes, plates, drinking vessels, and other requisites for 
a well-served feast, all of the same solid material.* 

There are obscure traditions of the cavern having 
been at some early period the. resort of men who 
lived by stealing their neighbours sheep, and plundering 
their hen-roosts, but these traditions cannot be traced 
to anything more definite than what is commonly 
alleged of all such places, neither are the tales told 
of its having been the resort of smugglers more to 
be relied on. The difficulty of access to it, either by 
sea or land, makes it very improbable that it should 
have been used for this purpose ; besides, in former 
days, Guernsey was a perfectly free port, nothing that 
entered was subject to any duty that it would have 
been profitable to evade, and before the establishment 
of a branch of the English Custom House, all exports 
could be made without the troublesome formalities of 
clearance and declaration now required. Of late years 
the smuggling of spirits into the island in order to 
avoid payment of the local dues in aid of the public 
revenue, has been carried on to rather a large extent; 
but this has taken place on more accessible parts of 
the coast. Possibly, however, tobacco made up in 
illegal packages, which would subject it to seizure if 
found waterborne, may occassionally have been depo- 
sited here for a time, until it could be carried off 

* This last piece of information was furnished by Caroline le Tullier, of the 
Parish of the Forest, wife of Richard Murton. 


secretly to the French vessels passing the island in 
their coasting voyages between Normandy and Brittany. 
In a letter dated May, 1665, to one of his friends 
in Guernsey, from the Rev. John de Sausmarez, 
who, on the restoration of Charles II., was appointed 
Dean of the Island, and subsequently Canon of 
Windsor, he alludes to " Le prophete du Creux 
Bobilliard." Who this prophet was does not appear, 
but there is every reason to believe that the allusion 
is to the Eev. Thomas Picot, Minister of the then 
united parishes of the Forest and Torteval, in the 
latter of which the Creux Mahie alias Robilliard, is 
situated ; for in the Assembly of Divines held at 
Westminster in 1644, articles were exhibited against 
this clergyman for troubling the Church discipline 
established in the island, preaching Anabaptist doc- 
trines, and prophesying that in 1655 there should be 
a perfect reformation, men should do miracles, etc. 
This conjecture receives some slight confirmation from 
the fact that it is still remembered in the Forest 
parish that a Minister of the name of Picot was fond 
of retiring to caves on the sea-shore for meditation, 
and one of these caves in particular, that well known 
one in Petit Bot bay with a double entrance, is still 
known by the name of " Le Parloir de Monsieur 


Horks atttr 


' Screams round the Arch-druid's brow the seamew white 
As Menai's foam." 

Wordsworth . 

One of the earliest forms of idolatry is undoubtedly 
that which was paid to rude stone pillars. These, 
whether erected for the purpose of marking the last 
resting place of some renowned patriarch or warrior, or 
set up with the design of indicating a spot specially 
appropriated to religious rites, or perhaps, simply as 
a boundary or landmark, came to be regarded, at firsb, 
as sacred, and in process of time, as a symbol of 
the Deity himself. Gradually any elevated rock, 
and especially if it presented a striking and unusual 
appearance, was looked upon with veneration. We 
find that this was particularly the case in the north 
of Europe, and that the hardy mariners who navigate 
the tempestuous seas of Scandinavia, are, even now, 
in the habit of paying a sort of superstitious respect 
to the lofty " stacks," as the isolated masses of rock 
are called, which form the extremity of many of the 
headlands, and that, in passing, they salute them, 
and throw old clothes, or a little food, or a drop 
of spirits, into the sea, as a sort of propitiatory 
offering. It is strange to find that the same custom 
still exists in Guernsey, notwithstanding that a 
thousand years or more have elapsed since the 
Northmen first invaded these shores. 

Everyone who has visited Guernsey must know the 










lovely bay of Moulin Huet,* and the remarkable 
group of rocks, which stretches out into the sea at 
its eastern extremity beyond the point of Jerbourg. 
These rocks are called " Les Tas de Pois d'Amont," 
or " The Pea-Stacks of the East." There being a 
chain of rocks off Pleinmont which are called the 
" Tas de Pois d'Aval " the westerly Pea- Stacks 
" Amont " (meaning "en haut ") is the Guernsey word 
for east, aval meaning " en bas," their word for west.^ 

Each rock composing the Tas de Pois d'Amont has 
its own special name. They are " Le Petit Aiguillon," 
"Le Gros Aiguillon," " L' Aiguillon d'Andrelot," ou 
"du Petit Bon-Homme." 

The united and increasing action of the winds and 
waves has worn the hard granite rock into the most 
fantastic forms, and from certain points of view it 
is not difficult to invest some of these masses of 
stone with a fancied resemblance to the human form. 
One of them in particular, when seen at a certain 
distance, has all the appearance of an aged man 
enveloped in the gown and cowl of a monk. 

So singular a freak of nature has not escaped the 
attention of the peasantry, and the rock in question 
is pointed out by the name of " Le Petit Bon-Homme 
Andriou." The children in the neighbourhood have a 
rhymed saying : 

" Andriou, tape tout," 
which may be translated 

" Andriou, watch all," or " over all," 

t (Par la meme raison que le vent d'ouest est le vent d'aval, le vent qui 
vient de la partie la plus haute, la plus montueuse de France, est le vent 
d'amont. Metivier's Dictionary, page 36). 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* " Moulin Luet," according to Mr. Metivier " Vier Port "still in the 
mouths of the old country people. 


and the fishermen and pilots who frequent these parts 
of the coast show their respect by taking off their 
hats when passing the point, and are careful to insist 
on the observance being complied with by any stranger 
who may chance to be in their company. Formerly 
it was not unusual with them, before setting sail, to 
offer a biscuit or a libation of wine or cider to " Le 
Bon Homme," and, if an old garment past use chanced 
to be in the boat, this was also cast into the sea.* 

There are other rocks on the coast which the 
fishermen are in the habit of saluting without being 
able to give any reason why they do so ; and it is 
not impossible that the honour paid to the little 
island of Lihou,f on the western coast of Guernsey, 
by the small craft, in lowering their topmasts while 
passing, may have originated in the same superstition, 

t Dr. Heylyn says in his Survey of th; Estate of Guernzey and Janey, 
published 1656, p. 298 : " The least of these isles, but yet of most note, is 
the little islet called Lehu, situate on the north side of the eastern corner, and 
neer unto those scattered rocks, which are called Les Hanwaux appertaining 
once unto the Dean, but ^now unto th? Governour. Famous for a little 
Oratory or Chantery there once erected to the honour of the Virgin Mary, 
who, by the people in those times was much sued to by the name of our 
Lady of Lehu* A place long since demolished in the ruine of it. " Sed jam 
periere ruina" but now the ruines of it are scarce visible, there being almost 
nothing left of it but the steeple, which serveth only as a sea-marke, and to 
which, as any of that party sail along they strike their topsail. " Tantum 
religio fotuit suadeie^ Such a religious opinion have they harboured of the 
place. Jthat, though the Saint be gone, the wals shall yet still be honoured." 


There are se\eral legends still repeated by the country people about " Le Petit Bon 
Horame Andriou. 

One is that he was a man searching for hidden treasure among the rocks of the Tas de 
Pois and that the guardian spirit of the treasure appeared and turned him into stone for 
his sacrilege. Collected by Mr. J. Lin-wood Pitts, of the Guille-Alles Library. 

Another is that he was an old Arch-Druid, the last of the Druids to hold out against 
Christianity. Miserable at his brethren's apostacy from the faith of their fathers, he went to 
live in a cave at the end of Jerbourg Point. His favourite occupation was standing on the 
rocks of the Tas de Pois and gazing out to sea, for he was passionately fond of the sea and 
sailors. One day, during a violent gale, he saw a ship in great distress out at sea, so he prayed 



although it is generally supposed that they do it out 

of reverence to the Blessed Yirgin, the ruins of 

whose Chapel and Priory are still to be seen on the 

isle. The circumnavigation of a certain rock by the 

fishermen of the parish of St. John, in Jersey, on 

Midsummer Day, may, perhaps, be traceable to the 
same source. 


La Eoque Mangi was a natural granite formation 
having a very artificial aspect. It stood on one of 
those sandy downs which extend along the north- 
west coast between " Le Grand Havre " and " Les 
Grand' Eocques," and consisted of a slender upright 
mass of rock of from eight to ten feet in height, 
surmounted by a large stone, projecting about half a 
foot on every side, resting on the narrowest part of 

to his gods to stop the storm and save the ship. They took no notice of his prayers, the 
storm still raged, and the ship was driven nearer and nearer to the dangerous rocks on which 
he stood. Then, in desperation, he prayed to the God of the Christians, and vowed that if only 
the ship, were saved he would tuin Christian and dedicate a Chapel to the Blessed Virgin. As 
he prayed, the gale ceased, and the ship made its way safely to the harbour. And Andrillot, 
after being baptised as a Christian, dedicated a Chapel ; some say it is the one of which the 
ruins on Lihou Island can still be seen, which is dedicated to " Notre Dame de la Roche ; " 
others say it was the Chapel, long since destroyed, which was on the Fief Blanchelande in St. 
Martin's parish, and which is believed to have stood where the parish school now stands. 

Be that as it may, that little figure standing, looking out to sea, petrified there that he may 
yet bring good luck and fine weather to his beloved sailors, is still looked upon by them with 
fond reverence, and they still throw him in passing their drop of spirits, or doff their flag, for 
luck. From Mr. Isaac Le Patourel and others. 

" L'Bouan Homme Andrioii," as correctly printed in Gray's map. This is a petrified Druid, 
or rather Arch-Druid, An An Drio the Primate of the Unelli, and now the guardian of Moulin 
Huet and Saints' Bays, Guernsey ; for, according to Rowland, our ancestors called that mighty 
Prelate thus, and Toland in his Celtic Religion, p. 60, says " The present ignorant vulgar 
believes that these enchanters the Druids were at least themselves enchanted by the still 
greater enchanter Patrick and his disciples, who miraculously confined them to the places 
that bear their names. And let me not be thought over minutious should I notice the 
peculiar propriety of the epithet applied by rural tradition to this most reverend, rock of 
ours " Le Bouan Homme," bon homme " in France, and " good man " in England, still 
denoting a Priest two centuries ago, particularly a priest of the old regime." From Mr. 


Another instance of a traditionally petrified human being, is a rock off the Creux Manic, 
standing straight out into the water. It is called " La Belle Lizabeau," and a little rock 
at the foot of it is called " La Petite Lizabeau." It is said that " Lizabeau " was a 
beautiful girl of Torteval, who was turned out of the house with her baby by her infuriated 
father. Mad with despair she rushed to the cliffs and leapt into the sea with her baby in 
her arms, arid she and her child were turned into the rocks which now stand there. From Dan 
Mauger, an old fisherman of St. Martin's Parish. 

j 2 


the supporting stone, and looking at a little distance 
like a petrified giant. It was destroyed by the 
proprietor of the land about the middle of the 
present century in the hopes of finding below it a 
profitable quarry of granite, in which, however, he was 

Of this rock a curious legend was related by the 
neighbouring peasants. Ib was said that the Devil, 
having quarrelled one day with his wife, tied her by 
the hair of her head to the upright stone, and that, 
in her frantic efforts to disengage herself by running 
round and round, she wore away the solid granite to 
the narrow neck which supported the superincumbent 

The origin, of the name seems doubtful, some 
tracing it to a family of the name of Maingy, who 
possessed land in the parish in which the rock was. 
situated. Others, with more probability, attributing it 
to the " eaten " " mange " (in the local dialect 
" mangi ") appearance of the stones, where the upper 
one or head joined the supporting upright. 


This was also called " La Chaire au Pretre," and 
was situated in the district of the Hamelins, a little 
to the north of the property known as St. Clair. It 
was a very regularly formed natural obelisk of about 
eight to ten feet in height, rising from the summit 
of one of those hillocks, or " hougues " as they are 
locally called, which, before the great granite industry 
took its rise, abounded in St. Sampson's and the 
Yale parishes, and along the whole western coast. At 

* From one of the Le Poidevins, of Pleinheaume. 


the foot of the upright rock was a large flat stone, 
giving the whole mass the appearance of a gigantic 
chair or pulpit. Seven stone hatchets have been 
unearthed in its vicinity. It was evidently used by 
the Druids as one of their sacred chairs, in which 
their Pontiffs sat to instruct the people. It is probable 
that towards the end of the seventh century, St. 
Bonit, Bishop of Auvergne, who was known to have 
been a great traveller, visited the land previously 
converted by St. Samson, St. Magloire, St. Paterne, 
and St. Marcouf, and sat and preached to the people 
in this erst-while Druid's throne, which henceforth 
bore his name. 

This very singular name is given to a picturesque 
mass of rock which forms the termination of a hill 
in the parish of Ste. Marie du Castel, and abuts on 
the road leading from the village of Les Grands 
Moulins better known as The King's Mills to Le 
Mont Saint. Mr. Metivier gives as his explanation 
of this name that all this region from the Mont- 
au-Nouvel (now called Delancey Hill) to the Castiau 
Eoc was the centre of the Druids and their obser- 
vances. " The Eagle," " The Cock," " The Partridge," 
" The Curlew," were the names of various degrees in 
Theology* among the Druids and among the western 
sun worshippers. This " Coq ' was the Prophet, the 
" Magician," of the Canton. The Arch-Magician of 
the King of Babylon was Nergal or " Le Coq." It 
is said to be a very favourite haunt of the fairies 
and witches, and it is commonly reported that an 
immense treasure lies concealed within it. In olden 

* Christopher : Muyheus apud. Baheum, in Centur. de Script. Brit. 


days it was the fashion to walk round it, stamping at 
the same time, the soil resounded under their feet, 
they heard, or thought they heard, the monotonous 
sound of a bell, tolling a far-away knell, and hence 
the belief of a subterranean fairy cavern and hoards 
of concealed treasure.* 


Old people say that there was formerly a very large 
stone in St. Andrew's parish on which was engraven 
an inscription in ancient characters. Some men who 
passed it every day in going to their work at last 
succeeded in deciphering it, and read as follows : 
" Celui qui me tournera 

Son temps point ne perdra." 
(To him who turns me up, I say, 
His labour won't be thrown away). 

This inscription roused their curiosity, and they 
determined on making a strong effort to raise the 
stone, fully persuaded that it concealed an enormous 
treasure. They procured crowbars and levers, and, at 
last, with much labour and great loss of time, 
succeeded in lifting it, but who can describe their 
disappointment when they found nought but the 
following words, legibly engraved on the other side : 
" Tourner je voulais 
Car lassee j'etais." 
(Tired of lying on one side 
To get turned over long I've tried). f 

* From Rachel Duport. 

t A. similar story is told in Scotland. See MacTaggart's Gallavidian 
Encyclopedia, under the article " Lettered Craigs." 

See also Melusine, Vol. II., p. 357. Roby's Traditions of Lancashire, Vol. I., 
p. 252, and the same story in Notes and Queries, 1st Series. II. 332. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * In Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute Bretagne, Tome I., p. 38, 
M. Paul Sebillot says : " Presque tous les monuments prehistoriques passent pour renfermer 
des tresors, il en est de meme des gros blocs erratiques qui se trouvent dans les champs ou 
sur les landes." 



A little inland, about halfway between the points of 
land which are the northern and southern extremities 
of the picturesque bay of Rocquaine, there is a rocky 
hillock known generally by the name of " Le Catillon," 
probably from some small castle or fortification which 
may have existed there in former days. Old people 
say that the true name of the hill is "La Hougue 
es Brinches," from the broom which once grew there 
in large quantities. At the foot of this hillock, on the 
northern side, there is a flat stone imbedded in the 
earth, and on it are the marks of two feet, pointing 
in opposite directions, as if two persons coming, one 
from the north, and the other from the south, had 
met on this spot and left the impress of their footprints 
on the stone. Of course a story is not wanting to 
account for these marks. It is said that the Lady of 
Lihou and the Lady of St. Brioc (or some say the 
Abbess of La Haye du Puits) had a dispute as to the 
limits of their territorial possessions, and that, in order 
to settle the question, they agreed to leave their 
respective abodes at a certain hour before breakfast, 
and walk straight forward until they met. The spot 
where the meeting took place was to be henceforth 
considered as the boundary, and to avoid any further 
disputes a lasting memorial was to be placed on the 

If the country people are asked who these "Ladies" 
were, they can give no further information about them, 
but they evidently consider them to have belonged to 
the fairy-folk, who have left behind them so many 
traces of their former occupation of the island. 
Antiquaries are disposed to look upon the stone as 
having been placed there to mark the boundary line 


between the Priories of Notre Dame de Lihou and St. 

Another story of this rock is that at Pleinmont lived 
a hermit who was much respected by all the island, 
and many people came to visit him in his cell, which 
he never left, except to administer the Holy Sacrament 
to the dying. He used to be seen kneeling for hours 
at the foot of a cross upon the cliff; but one night a 
fisherman, anchored in Rocquaine Bay, saw by the 
moon's light this hermit cross the sands and meet a 
tiny shrouded figure which came from the direction of 
Lihou. They met on this rock, and stood talking there 
for some time, and then each returned the way he 
came, and in the morning, when the fisherman came 
to examine the place, he found the print of two feet. 
He could not make himself believed when he told 
the story, until it was discovered that the hermit 
had disappeared, never to be seen again.* 

In the year 1829 a large quantity of coins, 
amounting, it is said, to nearly seven hundred in 
number, were dug up at no very great distance from 
this stone. The greater part were silver pennies, but 
there were a few copper pieces among them ; they were 
of the reigns of Edward II. of England, and Philip 
IY. of Erance. The discovery of this treasure induced 
some men who lived in the neighbourhood to seek for 
more, and, under the firm persuasion that the most 
likely spot to find it was under the stone itself, 
they resolved on braving the danger which is supposed 
to be incurred by removing stones which have been 
placed by the fairies, and devoted a whole morning to 
clearing away the ground around it with a view to 

* From Miss Lane. 


lifting it. They had, with great labour, succeeded in 
loosening the stone just as the sun in its zenith 
marked the hour of noon, an hour when all good 
workmen cease from their toil to eat their frugal 
mid-day repast, and to enjoy their siesta under the 
shelter of a hedge. They felt sure of success, and 
probably dreamt of the uses to which they would put 
their treasure, but, alas, for their hopes. When they 
returned to their work at one o'clock, they found 
the stone as firmly fixed as ever, and resisting 
their utmost efforts to remove it. They were more 
convinced than ever that immense riches lie buried 
in this spot, but that it is useless to seek for them, 
and none since that time have been bold enough to 
renew the attempt.* 


In the Yale parish there is a large tract of 
uncultivated land commonly known by the name of 
L'Ancresse Common. It is said to owe its name of 
L'Ancresse the anchoring place to the circumstance 
of the neighbouring bay having afforded a refuge to 
Eobert the First, Duke of Normandy, and his fleet, 
when in danger of perishing in a violent tempest. 
Our learned antiquary, Mr. George Metivier, is rather 
disposed to derive the name from the Celtic " Lan- 
creis," " the place of the circle," so many Druidical 
remains being still to be found on the common as to 
render it highly probable that one of those circular 
enclosures, formed of upright stones, in which the 
Druids are supposed to have held their sacred 
assemblies, formerly existed here. Along the sea- 
coast are many eminences, known locally by the name 

* From Jean Le I^acheur, ot Rocquaine. 


of "hougues." Their height is not great, but they 
form picturesque objects in the landscape. Here and 
there large masses of grey granite covered with lichens 
rise iii irregular forms above the green sward, gay in 
spring with the bright flowers of the furze and blue- 
bell, and redolent with the sweet perfume of the wild 
thyme and chamomile. In some of these rocks may 
be traced those curious excavations known by the name 
of rock basins, which antiquaries have considered as 
artificial, but which geologists are ready to prove to 
be the work of nature. 

Of late years many of these hougues have been 
quarried for the sake of the stone, which is preferred 
in London to all others for paving purposes, and if 
the demand should continue many of these hills will 
be entirely levelled, and with them will disappear some 
of the most characteristic features in the scenery of that 
part of the island. While writing (1853), La Hougue 
Patris is advertised for sale, and stress is laid in the 
advertisement on the excellent quality of the stone 
which it contains. This hougue is situated on the 
north eastern extremity of L'Ancresse Bay, and is 
remarkable from the circumstance that a portion of 
the rock, where it appears above ground, bears marks 
precisely similar to those which would be left by the 
hoof of an ox on wet clay. So remarkable an 
appearance has of course attracted the attention of 
the neighbouring peasants, who call the rock which 
bears the impression " Le Pied du Boeuf." Some old 
people relate that the Devil, after having been driven 
from the other parts of the island by a Saint whose 
name is now forgotten, made a last stand on this 
spot, but that, after a long and desperate conflict, his 
Satanic Majesty was at last constrained to take flight. 


In leaping, he left the marks of his hoofs imprinted 
on the stone. He directed his flight towards Alderney, 
but on his way thither alighted on the Brayes rocks, 
where, it is said, similar marks of cloven feet are 
to be seen. Whether he got beyond Alderney, or 
settled down quietly in that island, is a point on 
which the narrators of the tradition are by no means 

Did we not know that a family of the name of 
Patris was formerly numerous in the Vale parish,* and 
that there is every probability that the Hougue derived 
its name from some member of that family, to whom, 
in ancient days, it may have belonged ; we might be 
tempted to suppose that the valiant Saint who forced 
the demon to fly was no other than the renowned St. 
Patrick himself, especially as, according to some 
accounts, the Saint was a native of a village in the 
neighbourhood of the town of St Maloes, within eight 
or ten hours of this island. 

It is true that, with all the self-conceit of the 
nineteenth century, we are apt to suppose that before 
the establishment of packets and steamers, communi- 
cation between the opposite coasts of the Channel was 
difficult and infrequent, but we have only to open the 
lives of the British and Irish Saints to see with what 
ease and rapidity these holy men effected the voyage, 
with no other conveyance than a stone trough, a 
bundle of sea-weed, or perchance a cloak spread out 
on the boisterous waves. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The Patris were also a family of note in the parish of St. Martin's in 
the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fiftesnth centuries ; a " Ville es Patrys " was among the numerous 
subdivisions of this parish. Much of their lands passed into the hands of the Bonamy family 

in 1498. 








As the inhabitants of Guernsey may be presumed to 
be acquainted with the Chronicles of their own Duchy 
of Normandy, it is not improbable that the following 
legendary tale, related of Duke Eichard, surnamed 
Sans-Peur, may be known to some of them. 

The Chronique de Normandie, printed at Eouen in 
1576, gives it in words of which the following is a 
close translation. (Fol. 4. Sur 1'an 797). "Once upon 
a time, as Duke Eichard was riding from one of his 
Castles to a Manor, where a very beautiful lady was 
residing, the Devil attacked him, and Eichard fought 
with and vanquished him. After this adventure the 
Devil disguised himself as a beautiful maiden, richly 
adorned,* and appeared to him in a boat at Granville, 
where Eichard then was. Eichard entered into the 
boat to converse with and contemplate the beauty of 
this lady, arid the Devil carried away the said Duke 
Eichard to a rock in the sea in the island of 
Guernsey, where he was found." 

He is supposed to have anchored at La Petite 
Porte and leapt up the cliff and landed on the 
stone near Doyle's Column at Jerbourg, where the 
print of his claw is still to be seen. As you go 
along the road from the town to Doyle's Column you 
see a large white piece of quartz with a deep black 
splash right across it. It is on the right hand side 
of the road, just as it begins to rise towards Doyle's 
Column, at the head of the second vallum, or dyke, 

* " Ceux qui effleurent tout au galop ne sauront point que, chez les Rabbins, 
Lilith, spectre nocturne, est ' une diablesse ' sous la forme de cette ' damoiselle 
richement aornee,' qui ne fit les yeux doux a notre bon due Richard, qu'afin 
de trailer ce nouvel Ixion comme la reine des Dieux avait traite le premier." 
Georges Metivter. 


going down towards La Petite Porte. This stone was 
also the termination of the bounds at Jerbourg beaten 
by the Chevauchee de St. Michel. 


In former days that tract of land lying between 
St. Sampson's Harbour and the Vale Church, and 
known by the name of " Le Braye du Valle," was 
an arm of the sea, which at high water separated 
that part of the Vale parish called " Le Clos du 
Valle" from the rest of the island. At the beginning 
of the present century, Sir John Doyle, then Lieut.- 
Governor of the island, seeing the inconvenience that 
might arise from the want of a ready communication 
with the mainland, in the event of an invading enemy 
effecting or attempting a landing in L'Ancresse Bay, 
caused the dyke near the Vale Church to be built. 
The land recovered from the sea became of course the 
property of the Crown, and was subsequently sold to 
private individuals, the purchase money being given up 
by Government to be employed towards defraying the 
expenses of constructing new roads throughout the island. 

Where fishes once swam, and where the husbandman 
once gathered sea-weed for the manuring of his land, 
droves of cattle now graze, and fields of corn wave.* 
Prom the very earliest times, the want of an easy 
communication between the neighbouring parishes 
must have been felt, and attempts had been made 
to remedy the inconvenience by the erection of rude 
bridges. It would be strange, if the Devil, whose 
skill in the construction of bridges in every part of 
Europe has certainly entitled him to the honourable 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Of course this was written long before the days of greenhouses and the 
tomato-growing industry. 


appellation of Pontifex Maximus, had not had a hand 
in building one of the three principal passages across 
the Braye du Yalle. Accordingly we find that the 
dyke at St. Sampson's Harbour, known by the name 
of " Le Grand Pont," is also called " Le Pont du 
Diable," and old people affirm that it has been handed 
down as a tradition from their forefathers, that shortly 
after the building of the Yale Castle, the Devil threw 
up this embankment, in order to enable him to cross 
over to that fortress with ease and safety. 

Perhaps the bridge may have been built by order 
of Eobert the First, Duke of Normandy, father of 
William the Conqueror, sometimes called " Eobert le 
Magnifique," but quite as well known by the less 
honourable cognomen of " Eobert le Diable," and, if 
in the absence of documentary evidence, any reliance 
is to be placed in the tradition hitherto generally 
received that the Vale Castle, if not originally built, 
was at least considerably improved and strengthened 
by this Prince, it is certainly not going too far to 
suppose that the bridge may owe its name to himj 
and not to his Satanic Majesty. 

One observance connected with this bridge is worth 
mentioning. From time immemorial persons from all 
parts of the island have been in the habit of 
assembling here on the afternoons of the Sundays in 
the month of August. No reason is assigned for this 
custom, but as Saint Sampson is looked upon as the 
first Apostle of Christianity in this island, and as the 
church which bears his name is said to have been 
the first Christian temple erected in the island, and 
is, in consequence, considered in some respects as 
the mother church, may not this assembly be the 
remains of a church-wake, observed in ancient times 


on the Sunday following the feast of St. Sampson, 
that is to say, the 28th of July. 

Similar meetings are common in Normandy and 
Brittany, where they are called " assemblies " and 
" pardons." 

The two other principal passages across the Braye 
du Yalle were the bridges called " Le Pont Colliche " 
and " Le Pont St. Michel." They consisted of rude 
slabs of stone resting on huge blocks of rock, and 
were dangerous, both from the sea-weed which attached 
itself to them, and rendered them exceedingly slippery, 
and also from the rapidity with which the tide, when 
rising, flowed in, for both of them were covered at 
high water. Many and sad were the accidents which 
had happened to incautious and belated passengers, 
and it is not wonderful that superstition believed 
these spots to be haunted by the ghosts of those 
who had perished in attempting the crossing. The 
" Pont St. Michel," situated near the Yale Church, 
where the embankment now is, was held in especial 
dread. At night the " feu bellenger " or will-o'-the- 
wisp, was to be seen dancing on the sands, and 
gliding under the bridge, and even at mid-day, when 
the sun was shining brightly, unearthly cries of distress 
would be occasionally heard proceeding from that 
direction, though no living being could be discovered, 
by whom they could possibly be uttered. 

An old woman, still alive, whose youth was spent 
in that neighbourhood, has assured me that she has 
repeatedly heard the cries. 

" Le Pont Colliche " was situated about midway 
between the two others, a little to the eastward of the 
road which now traverses the Braye. According to 
tradition, there was once a time when the opening at 


the " Bongue du Valle " the channel between the 
Grand Havre and the Braye was so small that a 
faggot, weighted with stone, would have sufficed to 
stop it. 

At that time the passage between the islands of 
Herm and Guernsey was so narrow that a plank laid 
down at low water enabled the Eector of St. Sampson's 
to cross over w 7 hen his duty called him to perform 
divine service in the Chapel of St. Tugual. Great 
quantities of the common cockle (cardiuin edule), 
locally known by the name of " cocques du Braye," 
used to be gathered on the sands at low water. It 
is said, however, that even before the enclosure of 
the Braye they had begun to disappear, and their 
increasing scarcity was attributed to the impiety of an 
old woman, who, unmindful of the sacred duty of 
keeping the sabbath holy, was in the habit of 
searching for these cockles on that day. A similar 
story is told to account for the rarity of a particular 
kind of periwinkle (troclius crassus) known here by 
the name of " Cocquelin Brehaut." 

A stone, which has evidently served as the socket 
or base of a cross, and which is said to have come 
from the Pont Colliche, is still preserved at Les 
Grandes Capelles. 


" Ah me ! for aught that ever I could read, 
Could ever hear by tale, or history, 
The course of true love never did run smooth." 

The promontory of Pleinmont forms the south- 
western extremity of the island of Guernsey, and, to 
the admirer of the wild and rugged beauties of cliff 
and rock scenery, affords an ever-varying treat. Loffcy 
precipices, in which the sea-birds and hawks nestle 



huge masses of granite piled into fantastic forms 
covered with grey and orange-coloured lichens, and 
gay with the flowers of the thrift and other sea-side 
plants; large rocks detached from the main-land and 
tenanted by long rows of the sun-loving cormorant, 
the ever-restless ocean, now smiling and rippling 
under a summer sky, now lashed into fury by the 
wintry blast, all combine to add to the charms of 
this district. 

Many accordingly are the parties which frequent 
this spot during the summer, and it is probable that 
some of those who have visited this place may 
remember a small promontory almost detached from 
the mainland, and forming the westernmost point of 
the island. To the southward of this promontory 
there is a sort of ravine, extending from the table- 
land of Pleinmont to the edge of the cliff, where a 
small breastwork of earth and stones has been erected. 
The reason why this spot, which is by no means the 
most dangerous along the coast, has been thus 
protected, is not very apparent. The existence of a 
small spring of water in the ravine, which keeps up 
a constant verdure and tempts the cattle turned out 
to pick up a scanty living on the common to the 
place, suggests a probable solution of the question ; 
but the tradition of the peasantry assigns a far more 
romantic reason for the erection of the parapet than 
the mere safety of a few stray heifers. 

They say that in days long past, the son of a 
farmer in the neighbourhood formed an attachment 
for the daughter of a family with whom his own 
was at variance. His affection was returned by the 
maiden, and the wishes of the lovers might, in the 
end, have triumphed over the opposition of the 


parents, had not the hand of the girl been promised 
by her friends to one of the richest men in the 
parish. In vain did the unhappy maiden urge the 
cruelty of forcing her into a marriage which her heart 
abhorred. In vain did her lover employ every means 
in his power to break off the hated contract. Their 
prayers and representations were treated with scorn, 
and the preparations for the marriage were proceeded 
with. The eve of the day appointed for the solemn 
espousal a ceremony which in ancient times preceded 
and was distinct from that of marriage had arrived. 
The lovers met "by stealth on the cliffs at Pleinmont, 
and, driven to despair, mounted together on a horse, 
which they urged into a gallop, and, directing him 
down the ravine, they fell over the precipice and 
perished in the waves below. To commemorate the 
event, and to prevent the recurrence of a similar 
catastrophe, the barrier was erected.* 

* From Miss Rachel Mauger. 








Thereby a crystal stream did gently play, 
Which from a sacred fount welled forth alway." 


For to that holy wood is consecrate, 
A virtuous well about whose flowery banks 
The nimble-footed fairies dance their rounds 
By the pale moonshine, dipping often times 
Their stolen children, so to make them free 
From dying flesh and dull mortality." 

Fletcher's " Faithful Shepherdess." 

[HOUGH not strictly speaking " Folk-Lore," 
the ancient priories and chapels of Guernsey 
are so closely connected with the holy 
wells that it may be as well here to give some 
details concerning them. It appears that these 
chapels must have been of more than one kind. 
Some were endowed, and had a priest permanently 
attached to them with probably a certain cure of 
souls. Others were most likely wayside oratories, 
where divine service was only performed occasionally 
by the rector of the parish, or someone acting under 
him, on certain anniversaries. Some may have been 
connected with religious guilds or fraternities. 

To begin with those churches and chapels known to 
have been endowed, and which were probably at least 
after the suppression of alien priories under the 
patronage of the Crown, 


A Commission was appointed in the reign of Henry 
VIII. for the purpose of ascertaining the value of all 
livings within the kingdom, with a view to the duty 
called first-fruits, owing on the appointment of every 
ecclesiastic to a benefice, being henceforth paid to the 
Crown. From this document we learn that besides 
the ten parochial churches there were four other 
benefices the vicarage of Lihou worth five pounds 
sterling, that of St. Brioc worth twelve shillings, the 
chaplaincy of St. George worth sixty shillings, and 
that of " Our Lady Mares," no doubt Notre Dame 
des Marais, worth three pounds. 

The first of these four, Lihou, was originally a priory 
dependent on the Priory of St. Michel-du-Valle, which 
was of itself a dependency of the great Abbey of Mont 
St. Michel in Normandy. The Prior of Lihou had 
probably pastoral care of the district comprised in the 
Fief Lihou, extending along the coast called Perelle,* 
from L'Eree to Kocquaine Castle, where the district of 
St. Brioc begins. It also comprised certain possessions 
in the Castel parish and elsewhere, and its feudal court 
was held near the western porch of the Castel Church, 
a little northward of the path leading to it, where are 
still to be seen three flat stones, which mark the spot. 

St. Brioc was situated in the valley leading from 
Torteval Church to Rocquaine. There is reason to 
suppose that it had a certain district allotted to it, 
but its limits are not now known. 

St. George was only a chaplaincy, intimately con- 
nected with the Fief Le Comte, the court of which 

* In the Dedicace des Eglises, " Notre Dame de Lihou " is called Notre 
Dame de la Roche. Now the word Perelle is a diminutive of Pierre, and we 
know that in our dialect " pierre " and " rocque " are \ised indiscriminately, 
and have the same meaning. 


formerly assembled in the chapel, and still meets in 
its immediate vicinity. The earliest notice we have 
of this chapel is contained in the Bull of Pope 
Adrian IV., dated 1155. In the year following Dom 
Robert de Thorigny or, as he is sometimes called, 
" Du Mont " abbot of the famous monastery of 
Mont St. Michel, visited this island, and found one 
Guillaume Gavin established at St. George as chaplain: 
he was anxious to retire from the world, and, at his 
request, the abbot admitted him into his community 
as a monk, and appointed Godefroy Vivier to succeed 
him as chaplain at St. George. After some time 
Vivier followed the example of his predecessor, 
and took the frock at Mont Saint Michel, having 
previously made over certain lands which he possessed 
in the neighbourhood of St. George to the abbey 
which afforded him shelter. 

In 1408 the chaplain was Dom Toulley, who 
obtained an order from the Royal Court prohibiting 
any one from trespassing on the road leading to the 
chapel, it being reserved exclusively for persons 
attending divine service, or sick people visiting the 
fountain, the small coin left as an offering at the well 
being doubtless a perquisite belonging to the chaplain. 

This chapel was originally endowed with some lands 
or rents, probably with the territory still known as 
Le Fief de la Chapelle, which is one of the many 
dependencies of the Fief Le Comte. 

After the Eeformation St. George became in some 
way the property of the de Jersey family,* and by 


* The Fief St. George was bought from the Royal Commissioners by Thomas Fouaschin, 
Seigneur d'Anneville, in 1563, let to Pierre Massey 25th June, 1616, and bought i8th May, 1629, 
by Nicholas de Jersey, son of Michel, from George Fouaschin, Seigneur d'Anneville, son of 
Thomas. Nicholas de Jersey's onlyj child Marie married Jacques Guille, 2nd May, 1638, and 
so brought St, George into the Guille family. 


the marriage of Marie de Jersey, an heiress, to 
Jacques Guille, which took place about the middle of 
the seventeenth century, it passed into the possession 
of the latter family, by whom it is still held. This 
Marie de Jersey made a gift of the chapel to the 
inhabitants of the Castel .in about 1675 to serve 
as a school house. A more convenient building 
was erected in 1736 on the site of an old mill, and 
endowed with nine quarters of wheat rente by Marie 
de Sausmarez, widow of Mr. William Le Marchant, 
and the chapel ceased to be used as a school house. 
Bickerings as to rights of way across the estate, under 
the pretence that there was a thoroughfare leading 
to a public building, ensued, even after the removal 
of the school ; so finally Mr. Guille ordered the 
chapel to be demolished, and only a few ruins are 
now left. 

' The Chapel of " Our Lady Mares ' : Notre Dame 
des Marais is thus mentioned in the Extente of 
Edward III, " Nostre Sire le Eoy n'a rien des 
vacations des eglises et chapelles, fors la Chapelle de 
Nostre Dame des Maresqs qui vaut XXX Ibts en 
laquelle iceluy Eoy doit presenter en terns de la 
vacation, et 1'Evesque de Coutance en a 1'institution." 
The chaplain then in possession, 1331, was Robert 
de Hadis.* 

The other churches and chapels were not at this 


* May loth, 1292. " Confirmation of a charter -which the King has inspected, whereby 
Henry III. granted in frank almoin to the Chaplain of ths Chapel of St. Mary, Orgoil Castle, 
Gerneseye, the loth of a rent called Chaumpard in the island of Gerneseye." 

Dec. 26th, 1328. " Grant to John de Etton, King's Clerk, of the Chapel of St. Mary of 
the Marsh, in the island of Gerneeye." 

Ancient Petition No. 13289. " To our Lord the King and to his Council shows Ralph (he 
Chaplain of one of his Chapels called the Chapel des Mareis in the Island of Gerneseye, that 
whereas the King has given in alms all the loth sheaf of his champartz in the said isle to 
this Chaplain to sing every day a mass for the King and his ancestors and heirs. Now since 
last August the attourneys of the King have disseized hiin of the tithes of two carues of land, 


time in the gift of the Crown, but belonged to alien 
monasteries, Marmoutiers, Mont St. Michel, and 
Blanchelande. The chapel itself was, there is very 
little doubt, situated within the precincts of Le 
Chateau des Marais, now better known as Ivy Castle, 
and the Livres de Perchage of the Town parish of 
the time of Elizabeth and James I. mention certain 
fields in the vicinity as belonging to it. 

The Hospice and Chapel of St. Julien was situated 
at the bottom of the Truchot, in the district called 
Le Bosq, close to the sea-shore. There are many 
" St. Julians " in the calendar, one of them being 
considered the special patron of travellers. In the 
title of his Legende MS. Bodleian, 1596, fol. 4, he 
is called " St. Julian the Gode herberjoue." It ends 
thus : 

" Therefore, yet to this day, thei that over lond wende 
Thei biddeth Saint Julian anon that gode herborw he hem 

Chaucer had the familiar attribute of St. Julian 
before him when he described his " Francklyn " or 
country gentleman : 

" An householder, and that a grete, was he : 

Saint Julian he was in his own centre." 

The rock on which travellers to the island used to 
land, now the foundation of the harbour, was " La 
Roche St. Julien," and probably the hospital, being 

viz. of the Carue of the Corbines and Suardes and also of the tithes of a place whereof he 
was never disseized. He prays to be restored thereto, as otherwise he would have nothing 
to live upon, as his whole rent is only worth 7, and scarcely half that." 

(Endorsed) " Go to Otto (de Grandison) and pray for a wnt to enquire if the tithes, etc., 
belong to the Chapel, and if they do, then let them be restored." (No date but Otho de 
Grandison was Governor of the Islands 1303-29.) 

May loth, 1382. " Appointment of Peter Gyon, serjeant-at-arms, and Henry de Rither, 
supplying the places in Gerneseye of Hugh de Calvyle, governor of the (Channel) Islands, to 
enquire touching the cessation, through the negligence of the Chaplains, of divine service and 
works of charity in the Chapel of Marreys in that Island, and touching the sale and removal 
of its chalices, books, vestments, and other ornaments, and to certify into Chancery. (Vacated 
because enrolled on the French Kll of this year)." 


situated near a landing place, was intended as a refuge 
for travellers, and therefore dedicated to him. This 
chapel was founded in the year 1361, the thirty-fifth 
of the reign of Edward III., at the time when Sir 
John Maltravers was Governor of the islands. The 
founder was a certain Petrus de St. Petro, or Pierre 
de St. Peye, as we find it written in French. Per- 
mission was granted him by the Crown to found the 
said hospital or alms house for a master, brethren 
and sisters, in a certain spot near Bowes (Le Bosq, 
this word was evidently Boues, Bois, a wood, with 
which the word Boue't is also identical), in the parish 
of St. Peter Port, and to endow it with twenty 
vergees of land and eighty quarters of wheat rent, 
out of which certain dues were to be paid to the 
King. " La Petite Ecole," or parish school, which 
has from time immemorial been situated in this 
vicinity, was originally connected with St. Julian. It 
is generally believed that the school was founded in 
1513 by Thomas Le Marchant and Jannette Thelry, 
his wife. 

At the Eeformation the chapel and hospital were 
suppressed, and its revenues and possessions seized 
by the Crown. The parishioners of St. Peter Port 
complained to the Royal Commissioners of 1607 of 
the alienation of this property, which they looked upon 
as belonging to the parish, but their complaint was 
not attended to. In the early part of the century 
there were the remains of an old house, -in a late 
debased Gothic style of the fifteenth century, standing 
at the bottom of Bosq Lane, which used to be looked 
upon as the remains of a conventual building. The 
house in question was a residence of a branch of the 
de Beauvoir family, whose arms were carved in stone 


over the principal entrance. The stones forming this 
entrance were preserved, and are now in the ruins of 
the Chapel of St. George. 

With the exception of the Franciscan Friary, there 
is no proof of any conventual establishments in the 
island, though tradition points to La Haye-du-Puits 
as being the site of an old convent. Doubtless in 
early times, and before the English had lost Normandy, 
the great monasteries which held lands in Guernsey 
may have had priories here. Mont St. Michel we 
know had the Priory of St. Michel du Yalle, and 
there is some reason to believe that Blanchelande also 
had some establishment of the kind in the island. 
How the Abbeys of Marmoutier, La Eue Frairie, 
Croix St. Lenfroy and Caen, all of which had posses- 
sions in the island, managed them, we have no means 
of knowing, though it was most likely by the machinery 
of a feudal court. 

We will now speak of the Priories of St. Michel du 
Valle and Notre Dame de Lihou. 

A tradition, which may be traced up to the time of 
Edward II., says that certain monks, driven from Mont 
St. Michel for their dissolute lives, settled in the Yale 
parish and founded an abbey about the year 968 A.D. 
The same authority informs us that they reformed 
their lives and became famous for their sanctity, and 
that when Eobert, Duke of Normandy, visited the 
island in the year 1032, having been driven here by 
stress of weather while on his way to England with a 
fleet to the help of his nephew, Edward the Confessor, 
he confirmed them in the possession of the lands they 
had acquired. The same tradition also says that in 
the year 1061 certain pirates attacked and pillaged 
the island, and that their leader "Le Grand Geoffroy," 


or " Le Grand Sarasin," had his stronghold on the site 
of what is now the Castel Church. Complaint having 
been made to Duke William, he sent over Samson 
d'Anneville, who succeeded, with the aid of the monks, 
in driving them out. For this service they were 
rewarded by the Duke with a grant of one half of the 
island, comprising, besides the Vale, what are now the 
parishes of the Castel, St. Saviour's, and St. Peter's- 
in-the-Wood. This grant they divided between them, 
and the monks, in right of their priory, held that 
portion of the lands which is still known as Le Fief 
St. Michel. The rest is now comprised for the most 
part in the Fiefs Le Comte and Anneville and their 
dependencies. To the south-east of the Yale Church 
is an old farm house which still bears the name of 
L'Abbaye, and which, without doubt, occupies the site of 
the original priory. Even at the present day, it is easy 
to trace part of the walls of the earlier edifice, which, 
however, was in a ruinous state as early as the reign 
of Henry IV., for we find Sir John de Lisle, Governor 
of Guernsey, writing to the Privy Council about the 
year 1406 for permission to use the timber of the 
building for the repairs of Castle Cornet, and alleging 
in his letter that the priory had fallen into decay, and 
giving as a reason for his request that in consequence 
of the war it was impossible to procure timber either 
from Normandy or Brittany. 

The names of a few priors have survived. It is not 
quite clear whether a certain Eobert, whose name 
appears as witness to the deed by which Robert, 
Abbot of Mont St. Michel, during a visit which he 
made to the island in 1156, appointed Guillaume 
Gavin, monk, to the chaplaincy of St. George, was 
Prior of the Vale or not, He is styled in the deed 


Priest and Dean of the Vale (de Walo). In 1249 
Henry, Canon of Blanchelande, was collated to the 
Vale Church by special dispensation. About 1307 
Johannes de Porta was prior (probably a Du Port, a 
family of considerable antiquity in the island, and of 
good standing). In 1312 Guillaume Le Feivre filled 
the office. In 1323 Eenauld Pastey was Prior of the 
the Vale, and had a lawsuit with the inhabitants of 
that and other parishes concerning tithes. In 1331 
there was another dispute concerning tithes, which was 
referred to the arbitration of two monks, Guillaume 
Le Feivre and Jourdain Poingdestre, who had both 
formerly been priors. In the year 1335 Andreas de 
Porta, 1364-68, Geoffrey de Carteret, and in 1365 
Denis Le Marchant, clerk, was appointed seneschal of 
the Court of St. Michel. 

According to the ballad known as "La Descente 
des Arragousais," "Bregard" * was the monk in 
charge of the priory in 1372, and by his intrigues 
the Vale Castle fell into the hands of the enemy, 
which was evidently a legend current at the time. 
Guillaume Paul, alias Begne, in 1478, is the last prior 
of whom we have found mention. 

The Priory of Lihou, as has been already said, was a 
dependency of St. Michel-du-Valle. The ruins of the 
church and other buildings are still to be seen. The 
former was entire at a time long subsequent to the 
Beformation, and is said to have been destroyed at 
the command of one of our Governors to prevent the 
possibility of its serving as an entrenchment in case of 
an enemy landing on the islet. It appears to have 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The Bregards or Bregearts were a very old family in the Vale and St. 
Sampson's parishes. Early in the sixteenth century one branch of this family bought land at 
" Vauvert," St. Peter Port, and became known as " Bregeart, or Briart, alias Vauvert," and 
finally simply as " Yauvert." A curious instance of change of surname. 


replaced a still more ancient building, as many pieces 
of Caen stone, with well-executed Norman mouldings, 
are built into the walls. Probably the first building 
had been destroyed in some of the many inroads to 
which the island was subjected during the reign of 
Edward III. 

An incumbent of Lihou, with the title of prior, 
existed until the time of the Reformation. 

Now to come to the remaining chapels. The 
Extente of Edward III. speaks of the King's Chaplain, 
John de Caretier, who received a salary out of the 
revenues of the island, and was bound to say mass 
daily for the King, and for the souls of his ancestors 
either in the chapel of Castle Cornet or in the chapel 
of His Majesty's manor of La Grange. It is not 
exactly known where this manor was situated, but as 
the estate of the late John Carey, Esq., has always 
borne this name the Grange it is reasonable to 
suppose that it was thereabouts. The more so, as 
Richard II. founded the Convent of Cordeliers or 
Francisian friars on the ground now belonging to 
Elizabeth College, probably then comprised in the 
Grange estate. It must be said, however, that there 
are also reasons for supposing that the King's Grange 
may have been situated elsewhere, probably in the 
vicinity of the Tour Gand, a fortress which defended 
the approaches of the town from the north, and this 
opinion derives some support from the fact that the 
Plaiderie, or Court House, is known to have existed 
in ancient times in this locality, and that in the 
middle ages a chapel was considered an almost 
essential adjunct to a Court of Justice. 

To return to the Convent of the Cordeliers, it is 
known that the site of their church, called in Acts of 


Court " La Chapelle des Freres," is said to have stood 
opposite to the entrance of Le Cimetiere des Freres, 
which was the burial ground belonging to this church, 
and, together with the site of the church, a considerable 
portion of land appears to have been alienated from 
the college, probably by the arbitrary act of some 
Governor of the island. The church consisted of a 
chancel and nave, the latter, on the building being 
given for the use of the college, serving as a school- 
room, and the former being occupied by the master. 
After its alienation the burial ground fell into the 
hands of an individual of the name of Blanche, who 
turned it into an orchard, but, a plague having broken 
out in 1629, the Court made an order that all who 
died of that disorder should be buried there, since 
which time it has served for a cemetery for the Town 
parish. How the burial ground attached to the Town 
Church came to acquire the name of " Cimetiere des 
Soeurs ' cannot now be known, as there can be no 
doubt that from time immemorial it was no other 
than the parochial cemetery. There is no document 
known to exist which points to any conventual 
establishment for females in the island, though there 
are traditions to that effect. There was, however, 
among many other fraternities, a " confrerie de freres 
et soaurs " connected in some measure with this 
cemetery, and which may have given it the name. 
At the Eeformation the land and rents due to this 
fraternity were seized by the Crown, and the list of 
them is still preserved among the records at the 
Greffe, with the following heading " Confessions de 
rentes dues aux freres et soeurs de la confrerye et 
fraternite de la charite, fondeye pour la dilyvrance 
des ames de purgatoyre, par les dis frayres et soeurs, 


constytuee, establye et ordonnee, en la Chapelle de 
Sepulcre estante dedans le cymetyere de St. Pierre 
Port," &c., &c. 

This proves the existence of a chapel in the 
churchyard, but whether it was the building known 
by the name of "Le Belfroi," and which was 
demolished in 1787, cannot now be ascertained. 
" Belfroi " is the name given in the mediaeval ages 
to a Town Hall. The edifice known by that name 
in St. Peter Port belonged to the Town, and was 
used latterly as a store-house for militia requisites. 
It is described as having been built of stone, vaulted, 
and divided into two apartments, an upper and a 
lower, the latterly partly underground. Probably the 
lower part of the building was used as a charnel 
house, in which the bones of the dead, after they 
had lain long enough in the ground to become quite 
dry, were piled up ; for, among the duties to be 
performed by the officiating priest, we find that they 
were required to chant a " recorderis " over the bones 
of the dead. Such charnel houses are still very 
common in Brittany, and many country places 
throughout the continent. 

Of the other chapels which existed in the Town 
parish the memory even has perished. The estate 
known as Ste. Catherine may possibly have derived 
its name from a chapel dedicated to that virgin 
martyr, but all that is known is that there was a 
fraternity or religious association under the patronage 
of this saint, which was endowed with wheat rents. 
Some of the rents seized by the Crown, and afterwards 
made over to Elizabeth College, were due to the 
"Frerie de Ste. Catherine," and possibly this body 
possessed its own chapel. The site of the Chapel of 


St. Jacques is well known, and traces of the foundations 
were still to be seen till comparatively lately. It was 
situated in a field on the Mon Plaisir estate, on the 
right hand side of the lane which leads from the Eue 
Eozel to the back of the Eocquettes, at the head of 
a little valley, just where the roadway is at the lowest. 
The orchard to the east of this spot, on the opposite 
side of the lane, is still known by the name of Le 
Cimetiere, and human bones are still occasionally met 
with in digging. It had some land attached to it by 
way of endowment, which was sold by the Eoyal Com- 
missioners in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as we learn 
from the Livre de Perchage, temp. Elizabeth, in which 
it is called " La Chapelle de Vydolle, St. Jacques," 
and that Thomas Effard was in possession of land that 
had belonged to it. From the same document we 
learn that there was also a chapel called " La Chapelle 
de Lorette," which, there is reason to suppose, may 
have been in the vicinity of Candie. 

There was also a private chapel, of which we 
should have known absolutely nothing but for an 
old contract, still extant, of the early date of 1383, 
by which Perrot and Jannequin Le Marchant* sell 
a piece of ground for building purposes to Eenolvet 
Denys. One of the conditions attached to the sale is 
that no edifice shall be erected on the land thus sold, 
which can in any manner take away from the view, 
or deprive the chapel of the manor and hall of the 
vendors, of light. The property in question was, 
without doubt, that to the south of the arch, leading 
to Manor Le Marchant and Lefebvre Street, and it is 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Peter and Jannequin Le Marchant were sons of Denis Le Marchant, 
Jurat and Lieutenant-Hailiff of Guernsey, and Jenette de Chesney, youngest daughter of Sir 
William de Chesney and Joan de Gorges. The chapel is alluded to in their father's " Bille 
de Partage," dated 3rd June, 1303. 


curious that the contract mentions the existence of a 
vaulted gateway leading to the manor, at that early 
period permission being given to the purchaser of this 
ground to build over this arch. An archway still 
exists in the locality, and continues to bear the name 
of "La Porte," as it did nearly five hundred years 

Now, to come to the only chapel that still exists 
Ste. Apolline. There is no reason for supposing it to 
be of such great antiquity as is generally believed. The 
vault is pointed, and it is well known that the pointed 
arch did not make its appearance in architecture until 
the latter part of the twelfth century say about 1160 
whereas all our parishes are named in documents 
anterior to 1066. From the Cartulary of Mont Saint 
Michel we learn that in the year 1054 William 
Pichenoht, moved by compunction for the many and 
great sins he had committed, and desirous of turning 
monk, gave, with the consent of Duke William of 
Normandy, his lands of La Perrelle with all their 
appurtenances to the abbey. These lands were, no 
doubt, leased out afterwards by the monks to various 
individuals, the abbey retaining the " Seigneurie " 
over the whole. 

In October, 1392, a certain Nicholas Henry, of La 
Perrelle, obtained the consent of the Abbot and monks 
of Mont St. Michel, as Lords of the Manor, to the 
endowment of a chapel which he had lately erected 
on his estate, subject, however to the sanction of the 
Sovereign as lord paramount. This permission was 
granted by Eichard II. in July, 1394. The charter 
which is preserved among the island records at 
the Greffe authorises Nicholas Henry to endow 
the Chapel of Sainte Marie de la Perrelle for the 


purpose of maintaining a chaplain who was to celebrate 
a daily mass for ever, for the safety of the said 
Nicholas Henry* and his wife Philippa, for their souls 
after they should have departed this life, and for the 
souls of all their ancestors, benefactors, and Christian 
people generally. Beside the three vergees of land, 
which are described as being bounded on the west by 
the property of Guillaume Blondel, and on the east by 
that of Thomas Dumaresq, both of which families are 
still landowners in the district, Nicholas Henry also gave 
to the chapel an annual wheat rent of four quarters 
due on a piece of ground adjoining. The chapel once 
established, other gifts were made from time to time 
by pious individuals who took part in the daily service. 
In 1485, Johan de Lisle, son of Colas, and Nicholas 
de Lisle, son of Pierre, acknowledged in the presence 
of the Bailiff and Jurats that they owed jointly the 
yearly rent of a hen to the Chaplain of Notre Dame 
de la Perrelle ; and the latter acknowledged, moreover, 
to the annual payment of one bushel of wheat. On 


* The following is a short pedigree of the descendants of Nicholas Henry, derived principally 
from MSS. at Sausmarez Manor : 

Founded Chapel of I 
La Perelle. 1394. I 


Jaques Henry=Thomasse.... Edmond Henry=Perotyne de Saint Peyr, fille de 

En vie 1423. I Jure Justicier Pierre de Saint Peyr, Jure 

Justicier, et Jenette Blondel. 

Nicholas Henry= Marguerite Colenette Sire Thomas Henry, Nicholas Henry Edmond 
Nicholas de Chaplain of St. " fils aisne " Henry= 

En vie 1480. 
" Et luy appartenoit 
la maison de la 
Rue Berthelot." 

Sausmarez. Apolline, 1492. 1440 

Seigneur de 

I I I 

Francois Henry=Collette de la Court, Guillaume Henry, Nicholas Henry. 

fille John de la " de la Rue Berthelot " " Les enfants du dit 

Court et Alichette O. S. P. Nicholas moururentsans 

Cartier. Hoirs, et les enfants du 

susdit Nicholas Henry, 
fils Jaques eurent leur 

Perotine Henry, Catherine Henry, 

Hellier Gosselin, Jean Effard, fils 

Baillif de Guernesey, Nicholas. 


L 2 


March 2nd, 1492, Henry Le Tellier, of St. Saviour's, 
also acknowledged that he owed two bushels of wheat 
rent to Sire Thomas Henry, who is also mentioned 
as Chaplain of St. Brioc, in 1477, and as Rector of 
the Castel, in 1478. He was also styled in an 
earlier deed, " Dom " Thomas, so was probably 
also a Benedictine monk, and it is not unlikely 
that he was grandson of the original founder of 
this chapel. Its identity with the building still 
existing is proved by an Act of the Royal Court 
" en Plaids d'Heritage " of June 6th, 1452, in which 
the chapel is spoken of as " La Chapelle de Notre 
Dame d,e la Perrelle, appelleye la Chapelle Sainte 
Appolyne." It was then in the possession of Colin 
Henry, son of Jacques, and grandson of Nicholas, who 
is described as the founder of the chapel. Forty 
years later it changed hands, and was in the possession 
of the Guille family, perhaps by inheritance, for in 
April, 1496, Nicholas Guille, son of Nicholas, of St. 
Peter Port, sold the advowson of the chaplaincy to 
Edmond de Chesney, Seigneur of Anneville, in whose 
family it probably remained until they * sold their 
possessions to the Fouaschin family, from whom they 
came by inheritance into the family of Andros.f 

We do not know how the name of Ste. Apolline 
came to be associated first with that of the Blessed 
Virgin, and then to have superseded it altogether. 
Possibly because there were already no less than five 
places of worship in the island under the invocation 


* Nicholas Fouaschin, son of Thomas, and Jurat of the Royal Court, bought the Manors of 
Le Comte and Anneville from Sir Robert Willoughby, February i6th, 1509. Sir Robert, 
afterwards Lord Broke, inherited these Manors from his grandmother, Anne de Chesney, 
daughter and co-heiress of Sir Edmund de Chesney and Alice Stafford. 

r Through the marriage on October ijth, 1660, of Charles Andros to Alice Fashion, only 
child of Thomas Fashion, Seigneur of Anneville. 


of Our Lady the Churches of the Castel, Torteval,* 
and Lihou, and the Chapels of Pulias and Le 
Chateau des Marais, commonly known as Ivy Castle. 
Saint Apollonia, or in French, Ste. Apolline, is said 
to have been a virgin of Alexandria, who was burned 
as a Christian martyr in the year 249. 

The chapel is twenty-seven feet long by thirteen 
feet nine inches wide, and is built of rough unhewn 
stone, except the heads of the doorways, the jambs 
of the windows, and the corner stones of the edifice, 
which appear to have been coarsely wrought. The 
vault is in solid masonry of small stones cemented 
with a strong mortar, and if it was ever slated or 
tiled all traces of the covering have long since 
disappeared. The interior is stuccoed, and was 
originally adorned with mural paintings, of which 
some slight traces are yet to be seen. Figures of 
angels, and part of a group which seem to have been 
intended to represent the nativity of our Saviour, are 
still to be made out. There are three small narrow 
square headed windows, which may or may not once 
have been glazed one in the east gable immediately 
above where the altar must have stood, and the other 
two in the north and south walls, near the east end 
of the building. There is no opening whatever in the 
western gable, which was surmounted originally by a 
bell-cote, of which the base only now remains. The 
hole through which the bell rope passed is still to 
be seen in the interior. To the south of the chapel 
is a very ancient and substantially built farm-house, 
which is traditionally said to have been the residence 
of the officiating priest. It is quite as probable that 
it was the manor house of the founder, Nicholas 

* See note on page 197. 


Henry. In it were preserved the iron clapper of a 
bell, which is said to have belonged to the chapel, 
and some wrought stones, which probably formed the 
supports of the altar slab. A small silver burette, 
one of a pair, such as are used in the Koman 
Catholic Church to contain the wine and the water 
employed in the celebration of the mass, by tradition 
came originally from this chapel, it bearing the 
inscription " Sancte Paule ora pro nobis," and on the 
lid is the letter A, denoting that it was the vessel 
intended to contain the water. It was in the possession 
of the ancient family of Guille, whose representative 
gave it to the Parish Church of St. Peter Port in 
memory of his father. 

In the neighbourhood of Perrelle Bay there is a 
rock, standing at some little distance from the shore, 
never covered by the tide, and approachable when the 
tide is out, called " La Chapelle Dom Hue." The 
appearance of the natural causeway, or, as it is 
locally termed " col " or " pont," which leads to it, 
would induce one to believe that at some remote 
period it must have been a narrow neck of low land 
stretching out into the sea, which divided the bays 
of L'Eree and La Perrelle, and which has been 
gradually carried away by the constant action of the 
waves, leaving only the little hillock we now see. 
Probably, in ancient times, a small oratory, perhaps a 
hermitage, had been erected on this spot by a pious 
founder, " Dom " Hue, who, from his title, must have 
been a Benedictine monk, and, in all likelihood, a 
member of the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel, which 
was in possession of lands in this neighbourhood. 
There is still a small manor in the parish of St. 
Saviour's which bears the name of "Les Domaines 


Dom Hue," and which we may reasonably suppose 
belonged originally to the same person, and possibly 
formed the endowment of the chapel. 

The next chapel of which anything definite is 
known is " Notre Dame de Pulias," otherwise " La 
Chapelle de 1'Epine." The ground on which it stood 
lies on the sea-shore, to the northward of the 
promontory of Noirmont, and, though separated from 
the rest of the parish by an intervening strip of 
land belonging to the Yale, forms in reality part of 
St. Sampson's. The Yale parish consists of two 
distinct portions, the larger of which, called " Le 
Clos," was, until the beginning of the present century, 
entirely divided from the rest of the island by an 
arm of the sea, which extended from St. Sampson's 
Harbour to the Grand Havre near the Yale Church, 
and which was only passable at low water. The 
inhabitants of that part of the parish attached to the 
mainland of Guernsey, and which is called " La 
Yingtaine de 1'Epine," were thus cut off at times 
from all access to their parish church, and appear 
to have made use of this building, as a chapel of 
ease. It stood close to " La Mare de Pulias," and 
in this neighbourhood a bit of wall is still shown, 
which is said to have formed part of the chapel. It 
is probable that it was under the patronage of the 
Seigneurs of Anneville, for the earliest notice found 
of this chapel is in an " extente " of this fief, dated 
1405, in which it is stated that the common lands, 
extending along the shore between " La Chapelle de 
Notre Dame de Pulayes " and the rivulet of St. 
Brioc at Eocquaine, belong in moieties to the Abbot 
of St. Michel and the Lord of Anneville. This chapel 
had an endowment, for we find by the report of the 


Eoyal Commissioners of 1607 that the parishioners of 
the Yale and St. Sampson's petitioned that it might 
be restored to them, complaining 

" That whereas their predecessors, the inhabitants 
of the Yingtaine of the Epine, had in former times 
built a chapel, with a churchyard, for divine service, 
by reason of the sea, which doth oftentimes hinder 
them from going to their parish church of the Yalle ; 
and that since that time His Majesty's Commissioners 
having considered how necessary that chapel was for 
them, it hath pleased the late Queen Elizabeth to 
grant unto them yearly ten or twelve quarters of 
wheat, for the maintenance both of the said chapel, 
and also of a schoolmaster to instruct their children; 
notwithstanding all which the said chapel, together 
with the churchyard, hath been utterly ruinated and 
the trees beaten down, and the grounds and rents 
belonging thereunto taken away, to the great grief 
and prejudice of the said parishioners, and therefore 
they humbly desire that the said chapel be built 
again by them that have thus ruinated it, and the 
rents belonging thereunto, for so necessary a use, be 
restored unto them again, with the tithes and rights 
concerning it." 

The answer and decision of the Commissioners was 
not satisfactory. They owned there was probably a 
chapel of ease on that spot, and they go on to 
state that, having examined some aged people who 
dwelt near the place, as well as the Lieutenant- 
Grovernor and other officers, they find that ten or 
twelve quarters of wheat had been given either 
towards the maintenance of the chapel or of a 
schoolmaster, and that some had heard divine service 
said there about the beginning of the reign of 


Elizabeth and long before, but they can find no 
evidence to prove that it was founded or built for a 
chapel of ease, the complainants accounting for the 
absence of documentary evidence in support of their 
claim by alleging that the Governor had taken it away 
with him. The Commissioners go on to say that on 
further examinations they have had there was a certain 
Popish superstitious service used therein, and that 
wheat rents had been given by certain inhabitants for 
the saying of a morrow mass upon Sundays, and for 
such like superstitious uses, and that about forty years 
previously, the chapel, with all appertaining to it, had 
been seized for the use of the Queen. The conclusion 
they arrived at was that the seizure was legal, and 
should be maintained. 

At the north-east extremity of the Clos-du-Valle, 
near the estate called Paradis, and a little way 
beyond the cromlech called Dehus or Thus, stood 
La Chapelle de Saint Maliere or Magloire, an early 
apostle of the island. 

All traces of this chapel have long since disappeared, 
but its site is still pointed out as being that of a 
little thatch-covered cottage on the side of the hill.* 
The old farmhouse close by, called " St. Magloire," 
is said to have been the residence of the priest 
attached to its service. 

It is mentioned as early as the year 1155 in a 
Bull of Pope Adrian IV. (Breakspear), together with 
other churches and chapels in Guernsey, as being 
the property and in the patronage of Mont Saint 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Tradition in that part of the island says (so I was told in 1896 by the 
woman living in the old farmhouse called St. Magloirj) that in building this cottage they 
came upon the old corner stone of the original chapel. Thinking it was sacrilegious to move 
it, and would entail ill-luck on them and their children, they left it in its place, and there 
it still remains. 


Michel. The only other notice we have of this 
chapel is the tradition recorded by some of our 
historians that, at the time of the Reformation, the 
plate, ornaments, vestments, and records, belonging to 
the churches in this island, were secretly buried here 
by the Roman Catholic clergy, with a view to their 
removal to Normandy when a fitting opportunity should 
offer, but that one John Le Pelley, a schoolmaster, 
having by some means got information of the circum- 
stances, dug them up some few years later, and sold 
them to some Normans of Coutances, who conveyed 
them away. 

Saint Magloire was the nephew and pupil of Saint 
Samson, and was born in the middle of the sixth 
century. He succeeded his uncle, Samson, as Bishop 
of Dol, but after a few years resigned his charge 
and retreated to Sark, where he founded a sort of 
monastery or missionary college, and where he died. 
His remains were translated in the ninth century to 
Lehon, near Dinan, and afterwards to Paris, where 
they were deposited in the church which still bears 
the name of the saint. 

Two localities in the immediate neighbourhood of St. 
Maliere bear the singular names of "Paradis" and 
" Enfer." Tradition is entirely silent as to the origin 
of these names, but it is possible that they may have 
been in some way connected with the chapel, and 
with some of the superstitious usages so common 
among the nations of Celtic origin. 

The Chapel of St. Clair was named after the first- 
Bishop of Nantes, who lived in the third century. 
This chapel stood on the hill a little to the eastward 
of the farmhouse in Saint Sampson's parish which still 
bears the name. In clearing the ground for quarries 


of late years many human bones and a few grave- 
stones have been discovered there. 

It was situated on the " Franc-Fief Gallicien," the 
tenants of which enjoy to this day an exemption from 
certain feudal duties, which is said to have been 
granted to their forefathers by King Edward IY. in 
acknowledgment of the services rendered by them as 
mariners in bringing him to this island from Exmouth, 
when, as Earl of March, he escaped with the famous 
Earl of Warwick, and their followers from England, 
after a victory gained by Henry VII. over the Yorkist 
party in October, 1459. 

The Chapel of St. Germain was in the Castel parish, 
and its holy well, which is still regarded by some as 
no less efficacious than the fountain of St. George, was 
situated to the northward of that chapel. All traces 
of the building have long since disappeared, and all 
that we know of it is that in the Extents of Queen 
Elizabeth and James I. a rent payable to the Crown is 
described as "due on a piece of ground situated near 
the Chapel of St. Germain." 

There is also said to have been a Chapel of Ste. 
Anne, near the King's Mills, more correctly designated 
as Les Grands Moulins. St. Anne also had her sacred 
fountain. The names of " Ste. Helene," at St. Andrew's, 
and La Madeleine, St. Pierre-du-Bois, may also have 
been derived from religious buildings, but of these 
nothing but the names now remain. 

In St. Martin's parish there was a chapel attached 
to the Priory of Blanchelande, and another, Saint Jean 
de la Houguette, which very probably was erected on 
the site now occupied by the parish school.* 

In the Extente of the Fief Anneville it is said that 

* See note on page 197. 


the lord has his " Chapelles." It is probable that all 
the feudal lords who held the lands direct from the 
Crown had the same right of chapel. Such at least 
seems to have been the case in Jersey, where some 
still exist, and in the Clos-du-Valle, situated in the 
Vale parish, is a field called " La Chapelle du Sud," 
west of a field called " Le Galle," on the Crown 
lands. Here was probably the site of a now for- 
gotten chapel. 

Closely connected with the chapels and churches 
are the holy wells. Even in pagan times, before 
the introduction of Christianity, it is well known 
that a sort of worship was paid to the nymphs or 
deities who were supposed to haunt these fountains, 
and to whose interference were attributed the cures 
effected by the use of these waters. When a purer 
faith was preached, and it was found impossible 
to wean the minds of the people entirely away 
from a belief in the supernatural qualities of these 
springs, the early missionaries whether wisely or 
not it is difficult to say sought to direct the 
attention of their converts into a new channel, and 
bestowed the name of some saint on these hallowed 
spots, who thenceforth was supposed to stand in the 
place of the ancient local deity or genius of the well. 

<325IV If 


Holy wells still exist in many parts of the island, 
and are resorted to for various purposes, but princi- 
pally for the cure of erysipelas, rheumatism and 
glandular swellings, and inflammation or weakness of 



" Wishing Well, Les Fontaines, Castel. " 


the eyes. These maladies are all called by the 
country people " Mai de la Fontaine." 

Whether the water will prove efficacious as a remedy 
is ascertained by noticing the effect produced on 
applying it. If it evaporates rapidly, passing off in 
steam, or runs off the swelling like little drops of 
quicksilver, it is of the right sort, and the sufferer 
may hope for a speedy cure. Still, there are certain 
ceremonies to be observed, without which it is useless 
to make the attempt. 

It must be applied before the patient has broken 
his fast for nine consecutive mornings, and must be 
dropped on to the affected place with the fingers, 
and not put on with a sponge or rag. It must be 
taken fresh from the well every day at daybreak. The 
person who draws it must on no account speak to 
anyone either on his way to, or from the fountain, 
and must be particularly careful not to spill a single 
drop from the pitcher. It is customary to leave a 
small coin on the edge of the well, which was 
doubtless intended originally as an offering to the 
saint who was supposed to have the spring under his 
especial protection, and whose name it bore. These 
wells are said also to be used for purposes of divina- 
tion. The maiden who is desirous of knowing who 
her future husband is to be, must visit the fountain 
for nine consecutive mornings fasting and in silence. 
On the last day when she looks into the clear basin 
of the well, she will see the face of him she is fated 
to wed reflected in the water. Should her destiny 
be to die unmarried, it is believed that a grinning 
skull will appear instead of the wished-for face. 

The well most in repute is that of St. George, in 
the parish of Ste. Marie du Castel, but St. Germain 


and Ste. Anne, at no great distance, have their votaries, 
and there are also the " Fontaine de St. Clair," near 
St. Andrew's Church, the fountain of Gounebec in the 
valley of that name near the Moulin de Haut, two 
in the parish of the Forest, that known by the name 
of "La Fontaine St. Martin," which rises on the cliffs 
to the westward of the point of La Corbiere, and the 
other at a point between Le Gron and La Planque, 
where the three parishes of the Forest, St. Saviour's, 
and St. Andrew's meet. The "Fontaine de Lesset," 
at St. Saviour's, is also renowned. In the parish of 
St. Peter Port the fountain of Le Vau Laurent was 
famous for the cure of sore eyes, and the water of 
another on the side of the hill below Les Cotils, known 
formerly as " La Fontaine des Corbins," was supposed 
to be efficacious in cases of consumption if taken 
inwardly. " La Fontaine Fleurie," near Havelet, and 
another in the marshes near the ruined stronghold of 
" Le Chateau des Marais," commonly known as the 
Ivy Castle, are also resorted to. The fountains of 
St. Pierre and Notre Dame are mentioned in early 
ordinances of the Royal Court. The former is known 
to have been situated near the Town Church, at a 
spot called Le Pont Orchon, in the street which still 
bears the name of "La Rue de la Fontaine." The 
latter was apparently at the foot of the Mont Gibet, 
at the upper end of what is now the Market Place. 
The erection of pumps over most of these springs 
has deprived them of their ancient prestige, and has 
effectually removed any curative properties which they 
may formerly have possessed. Although every spring 
was not efficacious in all cases, to insure a cure it 
was necessary to use the water of a particular well, 
and, in order to choose it to consult certain persons 


who are knowing in these matters, and who, by an 
inspection of the part affected are able to tell what 
particular spring should be resorted to.* 


We have already mentioned the well of St. George 
as being supreme in its sanctity ; indeed we may 
almost say that its reputation is such that it throws 
all others into the shade. It stands near the ruined 
chapel of the same name. 

A place of such antiquity and reputed sanctity 
might naturally be expected to have its legends, 
though many doubtless have disappeared, but a firm 
faith still exists in the miraculous properties of the 
water of the well, and the old people still say that 
on tempestuous nights, especially during thunder and 
lightning, the form of a horse, darting flames of fire 
from its eyes and nostrils, may be seen galloping 


There are two wells or rather fountains, for it is imperative that they should be fed by a stream 
of running water, in St. Martin's ; one, called " La Fontaine des Navets," is on the right hand 
side of the cliff above Saints' Bay ; it is best approached from the Icart road, by the turning to 
the left down a little lane, opposite Mr. Moon's cottage. This lane runs just behind Mrs. 
Martin's pic-nic house. There are two wells in this lane, but the second, the most southerly, is 
the sacred one. 

The other fountain was called " La Fontaine da la Beilleuse," and was situated just east 
of the church, below the farmhouse, belonging to Mr. Tardif. That again, was a double 
fountain, of which the southern was the wishing well, but it has now unfortunately been done 
away with, while the upper one has been converted into a drinking trough for cattle. Both 
these fountains cured the red swellings known as " Mai de la Fontaine." When I asked why 
these should be efficacious, and not any other, I was told that it was because they looked east, 
and were fed by springs running towards the east. From Mrs. Le Patourel, Mrs. Mauger, etc. 

See M. Sebillot's Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute Bretagne, T. i, p. 45 : " Au 
moment ou le Christianisme s'introduisit en Gaul, le culte des pierres, des arbres et des 
fontaines y etait florissant. De 1'an 452, date du deuxieme concile d'Arles, a 1'an 658, concile 
de Nantes, nombre d'assemblees ecclesiastiques s'occuperent de la question." 

See also Notions Historiques sur les Cotes- du-Nord, par Havasque, T. I., p. 17 : " De 
1'usage que les druides faisaient de 1'eau des. differentes sources est venue le culte que les 

Bretons ont si longtemps rendu aux fontaines Lors de 1'etablissement du Christianisme, 

les pretres les consacrerent a Dieu, sous 1'invocation de la Vierge ou de quelque Saint, afin que 
les hommes grossiers, frappes par ces effigies, s'acoutumasseut insensiblement a rendre a Dieu et 
a ses Saints 1'hommage qu'ils adressaient auparavant aux fontaines elles-memes. Telle est 
1'origine des niches pratiquees dans la maconneric dc prcsque toutes les fontaines, niches dans 
lesquelles on a place la statue du saint qui donne son nom a la source. C'est pour parvenir au 
meme but que le clerge fit eriger a la meme epoque des chapelles dans les lieux consacres a la 
religion ou au culte." 


thrice, and thrice only, round the ruined precincts of 
the chapel. 

Some accounts of the spectral appearance speak 
only of a horse's head enveloped in flames, without 
the accompaniment of a body.* 

The territory of St. George was also formerly known 
by the name of " St. Gregoire," and, though Nicholas 
Breakspear, Pope Adrian IV., numbers " La Chapelle 
de St. George " among the possessions of St. Michel 
in his Bull of 1155, Eobert de Thorigni calls it 
" St. Gregoire " in 1156, but in many places the St. 
George of the legends seems to have been confused 
with the " Egregoires," the watcher, " 1'ange qui 
veille," of the old world. It is, according to mytho- 
logy, " 1'Egregoire " who mounts the white horse that 
leads to victory, which apparition, in the -moment of 
danger, has roused so many Catholic armies from 

The fountain was so much resorted to for divers 
superstitions formerly, that in 1408 an Act was passed 
by the Eoyal Court, at the request of Dom Toulley, 
Pretre de St. George, under the Bailiff Gervais de 
Clermont, that the pathway to the fountain was only 
open to the faithful on their way to divine service, or 
to the sick who came to be healed. 

We may add that an adjoining field bears the 

* From G. Metivier, Esq. 

" Our Lady and St. George were often partners in worship ; and the latter's 
holy wells are famous in old legends : " And the Kynge (of Lybie) did to make 
a chyrche there of our Lady and of Saynte George. In the whyche yet sourdet a 

fountayn of lyving water whyche heled the seke peple y' drinken thereof." 

Caxton's Edition of the Golden Legend, fol. cxi. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. See Croyances et Legendes du Centre de la France, by laisnal de la Salle, 
Tome I., p, 324. 



name of " Le Trepied," a name which is to be found 
in other localities in the island, and which indicates 
that a primaeval stone monument, of the nature of 
those commonly called Druid's altars, may have at 
one time stood there. These, as has already been 
shown, have always had the reputation of being the 
haunt of fairies, and sometimes of spirits of a less 
innocent nature. 


St. Patrick and St. George, in the days when there 
w r ere " saints errant " as well as " knights errant," 
both happened to come to Guernsey, and met on this 
spot. St. Patrick had just arrived from Jersey, where 
the inhabitants had pelted him with stones and treated 
him with such systematic rudeness that the saint, 
furious, came on to Guernsey, and there he was wel- 
comed with effusion. Meeting St. George, they began to 
quarrel as to whom the island should in future belong. 
However, being saints, they decided that it would be 
more consistent with their profession each to give 
some special boon to the island, and then go their 
ways. So St. Patrick filled his wallet with all the 
noxious things to be found, toads, snakes, etc., and 
went back to Jersey and there emptied it, freeing 
Guernsey for ever from all things poisonous, while giving 
to Jersey a double share. St. George smote the tiny 
stream at his feet, "the waters to be for the healing 
of diseases, and a blessing to whoever shall own this 
spot. He shall never lack for bread, nor shall he ever 
be childless whilst this well be preserved untainted." 
Now, many, many years ago, the Guilles, who still 
own St. George, inherited it from the De Jerseys, and 
it so happened that the lord of the estate had an only 


son who was naturally very dear to him. An old 
friend of the family brought him a canary bird as a 
pet, and, as one had never before been seen in 
Guernsey, it was very precious. One day -it flew 
away from its cage, the door being accidentally left 
open, and was pursued hotly by the child. It made for 
the well, and apparently flew in, for the child was 
bending forward, an act which would inevitably have 
caused him to fall in, when he was arrested by the 
neighing of a horse behind him. He looked round 
and saw the fiery head of St. George's charger 
disappearing among the trees. That look saved him, 
and the bird was seen perched on the cross above 
the well, singing loudly. Presently it flew back to its 
little master, who had been saved by St. George from 
a watery grave, and a picture of the boy with his 
canary bird is still to be seen among the Guille 
family portraits.* 


There is a curious property attached to this well, 
that is that if a maiden visits it, fasting and in 
silence, on nine successive mornings, carefully depositing 
a piece of silver in the niche as an offering to the 
saint, she is assured of matrimony within nine times 
nine weeks, and, by looking into the well with an 
earnest desire to behold the image of the intended 
husband, his face will appear mirrored in the water. 
And, in former times, when the man was identified, 
the girl gave his name to the priest, who then 
summoned him before St. George, and, as destined 
for each other by Heaven, they were solemnly united. 

* From Miss Lane, afterwards Mrs. Lane Clarke. 

M 2 


There is still a tradition extant of one of the neigh- 
bouring girls of the parish, being forbidden by her 
father to marry the man on whom her heart was set, 
on the ground of his poverty, declaring that, having 
seen his face in the well, he was evidently destined 
for her by Heaven, and that she would claim him as 
her fate before the priest. On this her father, fearing 
the exposure and public censure, gave his consent to 
the marriage.* 

There is also a legend told by Mr. Metivier of a 
country girl stealing out one summer night in the year 
1798, to meet her lover near the well, flying home 
terrified, having seen a troop of bare skeletons grouped 
round the well, and gazing into the troubled waters. 

Connected with the Chapel of St. George was a 
cemetery, which boasted of many relics, famous for 
their miracles. 

At one time this cemetery was said to be haunted 
by a beautiful young girl. Every night wailing and 
crying was heard, and a figure was seen, much 
mangled, walking about. The cries were supposed to 
proceed from the tomb of a girl who had disappeared 
from her home one night in a most mysterious 
manner, and whose mangled corpse was picked up a 
few days later near the Hanois rocks, so battered 
and bruised that it was evidently not a case of 
suicide. However, in course of time, a grave being 
opened near hers, some bones were thrown up, and, 
being handled by an old man who in days gone by 
had been the murdered girl's lover, a stream of 
blood oozed out of the dry bone ! and with awful 
shrieks he owned to having been her murderer, and 

* From Miss Lane, alterwards Mrs. Lane Clarke. 


was executed soon afterwards at the " Champ du 
Gibet " at St. Andrew's. 


With reference to the statement on page 181 that Torteval Church is under the invocation 
of Our Lady. In "A Survey o/ the Estate of Guemzey and Jai-zey by Peter Heylyn, 1656," 
p. 320, he says : " that (church) which is here called Tortevall (is dedicated) as some suppose 
unto St. Philip, others will have it to St. Martha." 

On page 187 it is said that a chapel probably existed on the site of St. Martin's Parish 
School. In Elie Brevint's MSS. written in the early part of the i?th Century he says: "Les 
Havillands de St. Martin ont donne la chappelle pour servir d'eschole, et de la terre aupres 
deux fois autant que la verd de Serk, comme dit Thomas Robert." 



" Come, frolick youth, and follow me 
My frantique boy, and I'll show thee 
The country of the Fayries." 

Drayton's " Muses Elizium, 1630.' 

' O 1'heureux temps que celui de ces fables, 
Des bon demons, des esprits familiers, 
Des forfadets, aux mortels secourables ! 
On ecoutait tous ces faits admirables 
Dans son chateau, pres d'un large foyer : 
Le pere et 1'oncle, et la mere et la fille, 
Et les voisins, et toute la famille, 
Ouvraient 1'oreille a Monsieur 1'aumonier, 
Qui leur ferait des contes de sorcier. 
On a banni les demons et les fees ; 
Sous la raison les graces etouffees, 
Livrent nos coeurs a 1'insipidite ; 
Le raisonner tristement s'accredite ; 
On court helas ! apres la verite, 
Ah ! croyez-moi, 1'erreur a son merite." 


" Fairy elves 

Whose midnight frolics by a forest side 
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees." 


IT is not very easy to ascertain precisely 
what the popular idea of a fairy is. The 
belief in them seems to have died out, or, 
perhaps, to speak more correctly, they are no longer 
looked upon as beings that have any existence in 


the present day. That such a race did once exist, 
that they possessed supernatural powers, that they 
sometimes entered into communication with mankind, 
is still believed, but all that is related of them is 
told as events that happened long before the memory 
of man, and it is curious to see how a known 
historical fact the invasion of the island by Yvon 
de Galles in the fourteenth century, has, in the 
lapse of ages, assumed the form of a myth, and 
how his Spanish troops have been converted into 
denizens of fairyland. Perhaps, as has been suggested 
by some writers who have made popular antiquities 
their peculiar study, all fairy mythology may be 
referred to a confused tradition of a primaeval race 
of men, who were gradually driven out by the 
encroachments of more advanced civilization. According 
to this theory the inferior race retired before their 
conquerors into the most remote parts of the woods 
and hills, where they constructed for themselves rude 
dwellings, partly underground and covered with turf, 
such as may still be found in Lapland and Finland, 
or made use of the natural fissures in the rocks 
for their habitations, thus giving rise to the idea 
that fairies and dwarfs inhabit hills and the innermost 
recesses of the mountains. In the superior cunning 
which an oppressed race frequently possesses may 
have originated the opinion generally entertained of 
the great intelligence of the fairy people and, as it 
is not to be supposed that a constant warfare was 
going on between the races, it is far from improbable 
that some of the stories which turn on the kindly 
intercourse of fairies with mortals, may have arisen 
in the recollection of neighbourly acts. The popular 
belief that flint arrow-heads are their work the names 

in these islands " rouets des faikiaux" or 


spindles, to a sort of small perforated disc 
fattened bead of stone which is occasionally dug 
up, and "pipes des faikiaux " to the tiny pipes which 
date from the first introduction of tobacco, their 
connection in the minds of the peasantry with the 
remains commonly called druidical, and, indeed, with 
any antiquity for which they cannot readily account, 
are all more or less confirmatory of the theory above 
alluded to. Some years ago a grave, walled up on 
the inside with stones, and containing a skeleton and 
the remains of some arms, was discovered on a 
hillside near L'Eree. The country people without 
hesitation pronounced it to be " Le Tombe du 
Rouai des Faies" 

One well-preserved cromlech in the same neigh- 
bourhood is called " Le Creux des Faies " and the 
local name of cromlechs, in general " pouquelaie," 
may have some reference to that famous fairy Puck, 
or Robin Goodfellow, the west country Pixie, or 
Pisky, and the mischievous Irish goblin Phooka. 

According to the best accounts the fairies are a 
very small people, and always extremely well dressed. 
The inhabitants of Sark attribute to them the 
peculiarity of carrying their heads under their arms. 
They are fond of sporting among the green branches 
of the trees, and on the borders of running streams. 
They are supposed to live underground in ant hills, 
and to have a particular affection for upright stones, 
around which they assemble, or which they use as 
marks in some of their games, and the removal of 
which they are apt to resent by causiog injury to 
the persons or property of those who are bold enough 
to brave their displeasure in this respect. Some are 


domestic, living invisibly about the hearth-stone or 
oven, but willing to make themselves useful by 
finishing the work which the housewife had not been 
able to complete during the day. They expected, 
however, as a reward for their kind offices that a 
bowl of milk porridge should be set on the floor for 
them when the family retired to rest. On one 
occasion a fairy was heard complaining that the 
porridge was too hot and scalded her. The sensible 
advice was given to wait until it cooled. 

The few stories about fairies that I have been able 
to collect are given in these pages, and are very 
much the same as those related in other countries. 
Of the more elaborate fairy tale that which recounts 
the adventures of a life-time, and in which a 
supernatural being commonly called a fairy, but 
who has little or nothing in common with the fays 
who dance on the green sward by the light of the 
moon is the directing influence either for good or 
bad, I have been able to discover only the very 
slightest trace. 

That such tales did once exist, and that they 
were related by nurses to amuse their young charges, 
is, I think, sufficiently proved by allusions sometimes 
made to Chendrouine, as our old acquaintance 
Cendrillon or Cinderella is called, and by the fact 
that a friend of mine remembers an old servant 
telling him the story of " Pel de Cat," evidently the 
same as the English story of " Cat-skin," which 
however appears in the French collections of fairy 
tales by the name of " Peau d'Ane." All that 
my friend could recall to mind were the words in 
which the heroine of -the tale is welcomed into a 
house where she seeks for shelter, and which 


have a rythmical cadence that smacks strongly of 
antiquity : 

" Entre, paure Pel-de-Cat, mange, et bes, et seque 


(Enter, poor Cat-skin, eat, drink, and dry yourself).* 
But the best informed among the peasantry do 
not hesitate in expressing their belief that the fairies 
were a race who lived long before the ancestors of 
the present occupants of the land had effected a 
settlement in the island ; that the cromlechs were 
erected by them for dwelling places, and that the 
remains of pottery which have been from time to 
time discovered in these primaeval structures plainly 
prove their derivation. 

That the fairy race possessed supernatural strength 


* (In St. Martin's there still lingers a version of the English Tom Thumb, the "Thaumlin" 
or " Little Thumb " of the Northerners, who was a dwarf of Scandinavian descent. I was 
told the following story in 1896, but the old woman who told me owned that she had 
forgotten many of the details.) 


Once upon a time a woman had a very tiny little son, who was always called P'tit Jean. 
He was so small that she was continually losing him. One day he strayed into a field, and 
was terrified at seeing a large ball rushing towards him, having broken loose from his leash. 
Hoping for shelter, he ran and hid under a cabbage leaf, but in vain, for the bull ate up 
the cabbage leaf, and swallowed " P'tit Jean " as well. Soon his mother was heard calling 
"P'tit Jean.' P'tit Jean! je troche man P'tit Jean." (P'tit Jean! P'tit Jean! I am 
looking for my P'tit Jean," ) so, as well as he could, he answered " Je suis dans le venire 
du Grand Bimerlue." ("I am in the stomach of the "Grand Kimerlue." ) Astonished and 
frightened at hearing these unusual sounds coming from the bull, the woman rushed in and 
implored her husband to kill " Le Grand Bimerlue," as she was sure he must be bewitched. 
This was accordingly done, and they cut up the carcase for eating, but the entrails were 
thrown into the nearest ditch. An old womin was passing by and saw them lying there, so 
picked them up and put them in her basket, saying 

" y en a des biaux boudins pour man diner'' 

( " Here are some fine black puddings for my dinner." ) 

All the time the boy was calling 

" Trot, trot le vier, 

" Trot, trot la vieille, 

" Je suis dans I'venfre 

Du Grand Bimerlue." 

(Trot, trot old man, 

Trot, trot old woman, 

I am in the stomach 

Of the Grand Bimerlue)." 

Hearing these sounds issuing from her basket she hurried home and cut open the stomach 
of the bull, from whence emerged " P'tit Jean " none the worse for his adventure. He ran 
home to his mother, who had begun to think that she would never see him again. Front 
flfrs. Charles Marquand, 


and knowledge there can be no doubt, or how could 
they have moved such enormous blocks of stone ? 
Whether their strength and extraordinary science was 
a gift from Heaven, or whether they acquired these 
endowments by having entered into a league with 
the powers of darkness, is a very doubtful and 
disputed question. Some say they were a highly 
religious people, and that they possessed the gift of 
working miracles. Others shake their heads and say 
that their knowledge, though perhaps greater, was of 
the same nature as that possessed in later times by 
wizards and witches, who, as everybody knows, derive 
their power from the wicked one.* 

Some fifty or sixty years since, it was still firmly 
believed "in the country that the fairies assisted the 
industrious, and that, if a stocking or other piece of 
knitting was placed at night on the hearth or at the 
mouth of the oven with a bowl of pap, in the 
morning the work would be found completed and the 
pap eaten. Should idleness, however, have prompted 
the knitter to seek the assistance of the invisible 
people, not only did the work remain undone and 
the pap uneaten, but the insult put upon them was 
severely revenged by blows inflicted on the offending 
parties during their sleep.f 

It is asserted by some old people in the neighbour- 
hood of L'Eree that, in days gone by, if a bowl of 
milk porridge was taken in the evening to the " Creux 
des Faies," and left there with a piece of knitting 
that it was desired to have speedily finished, and a 
fitting supply of worsted and knitting needles, the 

* From Mrs. Savidan. 
t From Miss E, Chepmell, of St. Sampson's. 



bowl would be found next morning emptied of its 
contents, and the work completed in a superior 


" Welcome lady ! to the cell, 
Where the blameless Pixies dwell, 
But thou sweet nymph ! proclaimed our faery queen 
With what obeisance meet 
Thy presence shall we greet." 


" In olde dayes of the King Artour 
Of which that Bretons speken gret honour-, 
All was this lond fulfilled of faerie ; 
The Elf-quene, with hire joly compagnie, 
Danced ful oft in many a grene mede, 
This was the old opinion as I rede ; 
I speke of many hundred yeres ago ; 
But now can no man see non elves mo." 

Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" 

At a very remote period there lived in the 
neighbourhood of Yazon a girl of extraordinary 
beauty. One morning, as was her usual custom, she 
left her cottage at an early hour to attend to her cows, 
when, on entering the meadow, she was astonished 
to find asleep on the grass, under the shelter of a 
hedge, a young man of very small stature, but finely 
proportioned, and remarkably handsome. He was 
habited in a rich suit of grass-green, and by his side 
lay his bow and arrows. Wondering who the stranger 
could be, and fascinated by his beauty and splendid 
appearance, the maiden stood in silent admiration, 
until he awoke and addressed her. Her person and 
manners seem to have had as much influence on the 
youth as his appearance had produced on the damsel. 
He informed her that he was a fairy from England, 
and made her an offer of his hand. She immediately 

* From Mrs, Murton. 



Creux des FSi'es." 


consented to unite her destiny with his, and followed 
him to the sea-shore, where a barque was waiting, 
which conveyed the happy pair to fairyland. 

Time passed on, and the disappearance of the 
maiden was almost forgotten, when, one morning, a 
man who was going down to Vazon Bay at day-break 
was surprised to see a numerous host of diminutive 
men issuing, like a flock of bees, from the Creux des 
Faies, and lurking among the reeds and rushes of 
Le Grand Marais. iHe inquired who they were, and 
^ what had induced them to . visit the Holy Isle. One, 
who appeared their leader, answered for all, and told 
the affrighted man, that, charmed with the beauty 
and grace of the damsel that one of their companions 
had brought from the island, they were determined 
also to possess wives from the same country. They 
then deputed him to be the bearer of a message to 
the men of Guernsey, summoning them to give up 
their wives and daughters, and threatening them with 
their heaviest displeasure in case of a refusal. \ Such 
an exorbitant demand was, of course, with one accord 
refused, and the Guernseymen prepared to defend 
their families and drive the bold invaders from their 
shores. But, alas ! what can poor mortals avail 
against supernatural beings ! The fairies drove them 
eastward with great carnage. The last stand was 
made near Le Mont Arrivel, but, wearied and 
dispirited, they fell an easy prey to their merciless 
enemies, who put every soul to the sword. Their 
blood flowed down to the shore, and tinged the sea 
to a considerable distance, and the road where this 
massacre took place still retains the memory of the 
deed, and is known to this day by the name of La 
Rouge Kue. Two men only of St. Andrew's parish 


are reported to have escaped by hiding in an oven. 
The fairies then entered into quiet possession of the 
families and domains of the slain ; the widows began 
to be reconciled to their new masters, the maidens 
were pleased with their fairy lovers, and the island 
once more grew prosperous. But this happy state of 
things could not last for ever. The immutable laws 
of fairyland will not allow their subjects to sojourn 
among mortals more than a certain number of years, 
and at last the dwellers in Sarnia were obliged to 
bid adieu to the shady valleys, the sunny hills, and 
flowery plains, which they had delighted to rove 
amongst and which their skill and industry had 
materially improved. With heavy hearts they bade 
adieu to the scene of their fondest recollections, and 
re-imbarked. But, since then, no Guernsey witch has 
ever needed a broomstick for^ her nocturnal journeys, 
having inherited wings from her fairy ancestors, and 
the old people endeavour to account for the small 
stature of many families by relating how the fairies 
once mingled their race with that of mortals.* 


The fairies sometimes avail themselves of the 
services of mankind, and in return are willing to 
assist and reward them as far as lies in their power, 
but woe to the unhappy mortal who chances to 
offend them ! for they are as pitiless as they are 

It is said that one night a woman, who lived in 
the neighbourhood of Houmet and who gained her 
livelihood by nursing and attending on the sick, 

* Communicated by Miss Lane, to whom the story was related by an old 
woman of the Castel parish. 


heard herself called from without. She immediately 
arose, and, looking out, saw a man who was totally 
unknown to her standing at the door. He accosted 
her, and, telling her that he required her services for 
a sick child, bade her follow him. She obeyed, and 
he led the way to the mouth of the little cavern at 
Houmet, called Le Creux des Fees. She felt alarmed, 
but, having proceeded too far to retreat, resolved to 
put a bold front on the matter, and followed her 
mysterious guide. As they advanced, she was 
astonished to find that the cave put on a totally 
different appearance the damp rugged walls became 
smooth, and a bright light disclosed the entrance of 
a magnificent dwelling. 

The poor woman soon comprehended that she had 
penetrated into fairyland, but, relying on the good 
intentions of her conductor, she followed him into an 
apartment where a child was lying ill in a cradle, 
whom she was desired to attend to and nurse. She 
entered on her new duties with alacrity, and was 
plentifully supplied by the fairies with every necessary 
and even luxury. One day, however, as she was 
fondling the infant, some of its spittle chanced to 
touch her eyes. Immediately everything around her 
put on a different aspect the brilliant apartment 
once more became a dismal cavern, and squalor and 
misery replaced the semblance of riches and 
abundance. She was too prudent, however, to impart 
to any of the fairy people the discovery she had 
made, and, the health of the child being quite 
restored, solicited her dismissal, which was granted 
her with many thanks, and a handsome compensation 
for her trouble. 

The Saturday following her return to the light of 


day, she went into town to make her weekly 
purchases of provisions and other necessaries, and, 
stepping into a shop in the Haut Pave, was astonished 
to see one of her acquaintances of the Creux des 
Faies busily employed in filling a basket with the 
various commodities exposed for sale, but evidently 
unseen by all in the shop but herself. No longer at 
a loss to know whence the abundance in the fairies' 
cavern proceeded, and, indignant at the roguery 
practised on the unsuspecting shopkeeper, she addressed 
the pilferer and said " Ah, wicked one ! I see thee ! " 

"You see me do you?" answered the fairy. "And 
how pray? " 

"With my eyes to be sure," replied the woman, 
off her guard. 

" Well then," replied he, " I will easily put a stop 
to any future prying into our affairs on your part." 

And, saying this, he spat in her eyes, and she 
instantly became stone blind ! * 

There is another version of the preceding, called 


Late one night an old woman was called up by a 
man with whom she was unacquainted, and requested 
to follow as quickly as possible, as his wife was in 
labour and required her immediate assistance. She 
obeyed, and was led by her guide into a miserable 
hovel, where everything appeared wretched, the few 
articles of furniture falling to pieces, and the household 
vessels! of the coarsest ware, and scarcely one whole. 
Shortly after her arrival, her patient was safely 
delivered of a child. When ' she was about to make 

* From Miss Lane, as related in the Castel parish. 



use of some water which stood in a pail, to wash 
the child with, and had already dipped her hand into 
it, she was earnestly requested not to meddle with 
that water, but to use some which stood in a jug 
close by. She chanced, however, to lift her hand, 
still wet, to her face, and a drop of the water got 
into one of her eyes. Immediately she saw everything 
under a different aspect ; the house appeared rich and 
magnificently furnished, and the broken earthenware 
turned into vessels of gold and silver. 

She was, however, too prudent to express her 
surprise, and, when her services were no longer 
required, left the place. 

Some time afterwards she met the man in town 
and accosted him. " What," said he, " You see me ! 
How is this ? " Taken unawares, she mentioned what 
she had done in the cottage, and which of her eyes 
was endowed with the faculty of beholding him : he 
immediately spat in it, and destroyed her sight for 
ever.* f 


Two men were at work in a field near L'Eree, 
when suddenly their plough stopped, nor would their 

* From Miss E. Chepmell. 

t See Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake. Note M: Many of the German 
popular tales collected by the Brothers Grimm turn on the circumstance of a 
midwife being called to assist an Undine, or Fairy. 

See also Keightley's Fairy Mythology, Vol. 2, p. 182. Notes and Queries, 
2nd Series, IX. 259. 

Mrs. Bray's Traditions of Devonshire, 


In Traditions et Superstitions dc La 'Haute Bretagne, by Scbillot, almost the same 
story is told, Tome I., p. 109. See also Tome 2., p. 89. " Un jour, une sage-femme alia 
accouclicr une fee; elle oublia de se laver la main, et se foucha un o;il ; ainsi depuis ce 
temps elle reconnaissait les deguisements des fees. Un jour quo le mari de la fee etait a 
voler du grain, elle le vit ct cria ' au voleur.' II lui demanda de qucl ceil elle le voyait, 
et aussitot qu'il le sut, il le lui arracha." 


united strength, joined to that of the oxen, succeed 
in moving it. As they looked about them, wondering 
what could be the reason of this stoppage, they 
observed in one of the neighbouring furrows an iron 
kettle, such as was formerly used for baking bread 
and cake on the hearth. On approaching it they 
noticed that it contained a bit which had been 
broken out of the side, and a couple of nails. On 
stooping to lift it, they heard a voice desiring them 
to get it mended, and when done to replace it on 
the same spot where they had found it. They 
complied with the request, went to the nearest smith, 
and on their return to the field with the kettle, 
which they replaced as directed, continued their work, 
the plough moving as readily as before. They had 
completed several furrows when a second time the 
plough remained stationary. On this occasion they 
observed a bundle neatly tied up lying near them, 
and, on opening it, found it to contain a newly-baked 
cake, quite warm, and a bottle of cider. At the same 
time they were again addressed by their invisible 
friend, who bade them eat and drink without fear, 
thanked them for the readiness with which they had 
attended to his wishes, and assured them that a kind 
action never goes without its reward.* 


The fairies are reported to have regarded some 
households with particular favour, and to have lived 
on very neighbourly terms with them, borrowing or 
lending as occasion might require. 

The families of De Garis and Dumont are among 

* From Miss Lane. 
See Notes and Queries, 2nd Series, Vol. IX., 259. 

N 2 


those who are said to have been in their good graces, 
and it was to a De Garis the following incident 

To the south of the Church of St. Pierre du Bois 
there lies a little dell, through which runs a small 
stream of water known by the singular name of 
" Le Dou'it d'Israel." This valley is said to have been 
in former days a favourite resort of the fairy folk, 
and tradition affirms that a very kindly feeling existed 
between them and the mortal inhabitants of the land. 
A cottage is still pointed out, not far from the estate 
called " Le Colombier," which is said to have been 
the abode of a countryman and his wife with whom 
the fairies were in constant communication. 
Frequently, at night, the elves would come and 
request the loan of a cart until the morning, and 
their request was always complied with willingly, for 
it was always accompanied with the following 

promise : 

" Garis, Garis, 
Prete me ten queriot, 
Pour que gallons a St. Malo, 
Queurre des roques et des galots, 
Rindclles, roulettes, ou roulons, 
S'il en manque fen mettrons." 

( " Garis, Garis, 

Lend your cart now, I pray, 

To go to Saint Malo, 

To fetch stones away. 

Should tires for the wheels 

Or any thing lack, 

We'll make it all right 

Before we come back.") 

Permission to take the cart was never refused, for 
it was always returned in perfect order, and, if any 
injury was done to the metal- work during the 


nocturnal journey, it was found the next day carefully 
repaired with pure silver. But what use was made 
of it is unknown. Some pretend that a sound of 
wheels was sometimes heard in the dead of night 
rolling over the cliffs at Pleinmont, where no horse 
could have found a footing.* 


Fairies have sometimes been known to enter into 
the service of mankind, but by what motives they 
were actuated in so doing is not clear. A certain 
t " Mess " Dumaresq, of " Les Grands Moulins," once 
engaged as a farm servant a boy who offered himself. 
No one knew whence he came, nor did he appear 
to have any relations. He was extremely lively, 
active, and attentive to his duties, but so small that 
he acquired and was known by no other name than 
that of " P ! tit Colin." One morning as Dumaresq 
was returning from St. Saviour's, he was astonished, 
on passing the haunted hill known as "La Eoque 
ou le Coq Chante," to hear himself called by name. 
He stopped his horse and looked round, but could 
see no one. Thinking that his imagination must have 
deceived him, he began to move on, but was again 
arrested by the voice. A second time he stopped and 
looked round, but with no more success than the first. 
Beginning to feel alarmed, he pushed his horse 
forward, but was a third time stopped by the voice. 
He now summoned up all his courage and asked 
who it was that called, and what was required of 
him. The voice immediately answered, 

* From John de Garis, Esq., and Mrs. Savidan. 

t "Mess" is the Guernsey colloquial for " Monsieur," as applied to one of 
the farmer class. 


" Go home directly and tell P'tit Colin that Grand 
Colin is dead." 

Wondering what could be the meaning of this, he 
made the best of his way home, and, on his arrival, 
sent for Le Petit Colin, to whom he communicated 
what had befallen him. The boy replied, 

"What! Is Le Grand Colin dead? Then I must 
leave you," and immediately turned round to depart. 

" Stop," said Mess Dumaresq, " I must pay you 
your wages." 

"Wages!" said Colin, with a laugh, "I am far 
richer now than you. Goodbye." 

Saying this he left the room and was never after- 
wards seen or heard of. 

This story is still related by Dumaresq's descendants.* 


Le Grand Colin and Le Petit Colin, whose names 
have already been mentioned in connection with La 
Longue Eoque and La Eoque ou le Coq Chante, 

* From Miss Lane and John de Garis, Esq. 

Mr. Metivier also gives a version of this in an article in one of the French 
papers, and some notes as to the origin of the legend. 

" Ce fut a son retour de St. Pierre-Port, ou il avait un tant soit peu trop 
leve le coude, un Samedi, qu'au moment oft il passait " La Roche au Coq," 
vers minuit, un de nos terriens entendit ces paroles : 

"Jean Dumaresq! Va dire au P'tit Colin que 1'Grand Colin est mort ! " 

Or ce Colin, en haut-tudesque Cole-wire, est un troll ou guenon, un gobelin, 
qui, sous la forme de singe, ou de chat, etait persecute par un maitre rebarbatif. 
Dans la legende norse, le fermier se nomme Platt ; et lorsqu'il revient chez lui, 
ayant pris, sinon du vin, de la cervoise, il dit a sa menagere : " Ecoute ce qui 
m'est arrive ce soir ! Comme je passais Brand Hoy, la Hougue-aux-Balais, la 
voix d'un troll m'a crie ces mots : 

" Ecoute, Platt ! 
Dis a ton chat 
' Que le vieux Sure-Mure, 
(Rouflne et grond), 
Est mort ! ' " 

Aussitot, notre chat fait une cabriole, et se dressant sur ses pieds de derriere, 
crie a son tour: "En ce cas-la, il faut que je decampe," 


appear to have belonged to that race of household 
spirits who used to take up their abode on or near 
the hearth, and who, although rarely making themselves 
visible to the human inhabitants of the house, were 
willing, so long as no attempt was made to pry into 
their secrets, to render occasional acts of kindness to 
those under whose roof they dwelt, especially if they 
were honest and industrious. 

A man and his wife occupied a small cottage at 
St. Brioc. The man gained his living as many along 
the western coasts of the island do. When the 
weather was favourable he went out fishing. After 
gales of wind he was up with the first dawn of 
day to secure his share of the sea-weed which the 
waves had cast up on the shore, or perchance a spar 
or cordage detached from some unfortunate ship that 
had gone down in the storm. At other times he 
cultivated his own small plot of ground, or hired 
himself out as a day labourer to some of the 

See Lay of the Last Minstrel, Note S, and a paper on Popular 
Superstitions, etc., in the Saturday Magazine, Vol 10. p. 44. In Brand's 
Antiquities, Vol. 3. p. 44, the fallowing similar stary is communicated by 
T. Quiller Couch, as relating to a Cornish pixy. "A farmer, who formerly lived 
on an estate in this neighbourhood, called Langreek, was returning one evening 
from a distant part of the farm, and, in crossing a field, saw, to his surprise, 
sitting on a stone in the middle of it, a miserable looking creature, human in 
appearance, though dwarfish in size, and apparently starving with cold and 
hunger. Pitying its condition, and perhaps aware that it was of elfish origin, 
and that good luck would amply repay him for his kind treatment of it, he 
took it home, placed it by the warm hearth on a stool, fed it with milk, and 
shewed it great kindness. Though at first lumpish and only half sensible, the 
poor bantling soon revived, and, though it never spoke, became lively and 
playful, and a general favourite in the family. After the lapse of three or four 
days, whilst it was at play, a shrill voice in the farm-yard or ' town place ' 
was heard to call three times ' Colman Gray ! ' at which the little fellow 
sprang up, and, gaining voice, cried' Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! My daddy is come ! ' 
flew through the key hole, and was never afterwards heard of. A field on the 
estate is called "Colman Gray" to this day." 


neighbouring farmers who were in want of assistance. 
In short he was never idle. 

They lived in a typical old Guernsey country farm- 
house, with old walls of grey granite, a thatched 
roof, small diamond-paned windows, and arched 
doorways, with its half-door or "hecq." Inside they 
are all built much on the same pattern. The front 
door opens into an entrance hall, on one side of which 
is the "living" room of the house, parlour and kitchen 
in one, with a huge chimney, sometimes adorned with 
quaint old carvings, as at " Les Fontaines," in the 
Castel parish, a low hearth stone, a smouldering vraic 
fire, and " trepied." Still inside its enclosure are stone 
seats, a large bread oven built in the thickness of the 
wall, and a hook whereon to hang the "craset" lamp. 

A rack hangs from the low oak ceiling, diversified 
by its huge centre beam or "poutre." On this is kept 
the bacon, and the grease for the " soupe a la 
graisse," or " de caboche." A " jonquiere," which is 
an oblong wooden frame about three feet from the 
ground, is placed in a corner near the fire and if 
possible near a window, and is used as a sofa by 
the family. Formerly it was stuffed with rushes, 
whence its name. Peastraw or dried fern, covered with 
green baize, now take their place, and it is frequently 
called the " green bed." A long table and forms, with 
an eight-day clock by Naftel, Lenfestey, or Blondel, 
and an old carved chest, which contained the bride's 
dower of linen in bygone times, is the ordinary 
furniture of the rooms, whose principal ornament 
consists of some of the beautiful china brought by 
sailor sons from the far East or Holland. The floors 
boast for carpet nothing but earth covered with clean 
sand, daily renewed. 


On the other side of the passage is the best 
bedroom, with its four poster, and some still have on 
their mantel-pieces the old tinder boxes, with their 
flint and steel, and separate compartments for the 
burnt rag or tinder. Beyond are the winding stone 
steps, built in a curve beyond the straight wall of 
the house, and above are more bedrooms, or, in 
smaller houses, simply a " ch'nas " or loft. 

His wife also was never idle. She was one of the 
shrewd, industrious, and frugal race, who were content 
with a diet of bacon and cabbage, barley-bread and 
cider, and who are, alas, disappearing fast. Night 
after night, when her husband had returned home, 
and, tired out with the fatigues of the day, had gone 
to rest and was sound asleep, she would sit up till 
a late hour on the " jonquikre " and ply her spinning 
wheel by the dim light of the " craset." 

While thus occupied, she, one night, heard a knock 
at the door, and a voice enquiring whether the oven 
was hot, and whether a batch of dough might be baked 
in it. A voice from within then enquired who it was 
that stood without, and, on the answer being given 
that it was Le Petit Colin, permission was immediately 
granted, and the door opened to admit him. She 
then heard the noise of the dough being placed in the 
oven, and a conversation between the two, by which she 
learned that the inmate of the house was called Le 
Grand Colin. After the usual time the bread was 
drawn, and the mysterious visitor departed, leaving 
behind him, on the table, a nicely baked cake, with an 
intimation that it was in return for the use of the oven. 

This was repeated frequently and at regular intervals, 
and the woman at last mentioned the circumstance to 
her husband. The fairer sex is frequently accused of 


an inclination to pry into secrets and taunted with 
the evils which too often result from inordinate 
curiosity, but in this instance it was the husband who 
was to blame. He was seized with a violent desire 
to penetrate the mystery, notwithstanding the earnest 
entreaties of his wife who had a shrewd suspicion of 
the real state of the case that he should leave well 
alone. His will prevailed, and it was settled that on 
the night when the invisible baker was expected, 
the husband should take his wife's place on the 
" jonquiere," disguised in her clothes, and that she 
should go to bed. Knowing that her husband could 
not spin, the careful housewife thought it prudent 
not to put the usual supply of flax or wool on the 
distaff, lest the good man, in turning the wheel, 
should spoil it. He had not been long at his post 
and pretending to spin, when the expected visitor 
came. He could see nothing, but he heard one of 
the two say to the other : 

' File, filiocque, 
Rien en brocque, 
Barbe a ce ser 
Pas I'autre ser." 

( " There's flax on the distaff, 
But nothing is spun ; 
To night there's a beard, 
T'other night there was none.") 

Upon which both were heard to quit the house as 
if in anger, and were never again known to revisit it.* 

* From William Le Poidevin, confirmed by Mrs. Savidan. 


Compare in Amelie Bosquet's book La Normandie Romanesque et Aferveil/ettse, p. 130-131, 
Le Lufin ou le Fe Amoureux and Webster's Basque Legends, p. 55-56. 

Paul Si-billot also gives a somewhat similar story, in Traditions et Superstitions de La Haute 
Jjretagne, Tome i., p. 116-117. " II y avail a Ja Ville-DoueJan, en la paroisse du Gouray, une 



In times long past a young couple occupied a 
cottage in the neighbourhood of L'Eree. They were 
in the second year of their marriage, and little more 
than a fortnight had elapsed since the wife had 
presented her husband with his first-born son. The 
happy father, who, like most of the inhabitants of 
the coast, filled up the time in which he was not 
otherwise occupied, in collecting sea-weed or fishing, 
returned one morning from the beach with a basketful 
of limpets. There are various ways of cooking this 
shell-fish, which, from the earliest times, appears to 
have formed a considerable article of food among the 
poorer inhabitants of the sea-shore, and one of the 
ways of dressing them is by placing them on the 
hot embers, where they are soon baked or fried in 
their own cup-shaped shells. Cooked in this manner 
they form an appetizing relish to the " doraie," or 
slice of bread-and-butter, which forms the ordinary 
mid-day meal of the labouring man. 

A good fire of furze and sea-weed was flaming on 
the hearth when the man entered his cottage, and, 
having raked the hot embers together, he proceeded 
to arrange the limpets on the ashes, and then left 
them to cook while he went out to finish digging 
a piece of ground. The wife in the meanwhile was 
occupied in some domestic work, but casting a look 
from time to time on her new-born babe, which was 
sleeping quietly in its cradle. Suddenly she was 

bonne femme qui tous les soirs mettait son souper a chauffer dans le foyer ; mais pendant 
qu'elle etait occupee a filer, les fees descendaient par la cheminee et mangeaient son souper. 
Elle s'en plaignit a son mari, qui etait journalier et ne rentrait que pour se coucher. II lui 
dit de le laisser un soir tout seul a la raaison. II s'habilla en femme et prit une quenouille 
comme une fileuse, mais il ne filait point. Quand les fees arriverent, elles s'arreterent 
surprises dans le foyer et dirent, ' Vous ne filez ni ne volez, vous n'etes pas la bonne femme 
des autres soirs.' L'homme ne repondit rien ; mais il prit une trique et se mit a frapper sur les 
fees, qui, depuis ce temps-la, ne revinrent plus jamais," 


startled by hearing an unknown voice, which seemed 
to proceed from the child. She turned quickly round, 
and was much surprised to see the infant sitting up, 
and looking with the greatest interest at the fire-place, 
and to hear it exclaim in tones of astonishment : 
" Je n'sis de chut an, ni d'antan, 
Ni du temps du Bouey Jehan, 
Mais de tons mes jours, et de tons mes ans, 
Je n'ai vu autant de pots bouaillants." 
( " I'm not of this year, nor the year before, 
Nor yet of the time of King John of yore, 
But in all my days and years, I ween, 
So many pots boiling I never have seen." ) ' 
She had heard old wives tell how the fairies 
sometimes took advantage of the absence of the 
mother or nurse, to steal away a sleeping child, 
and to substitute one of their own bantlings in its 
place, and how the only way to cause them to 
make restitution was to throw the changeling on the 
hearth, when the fairy mother, unable to withstand 
the piteous cries of her offspring, was sure to appear, 
and bring back the stolen infant with her. 

She lost no time therefore in catching up the fairy 
imp, who, knowing the fate that awaited him, set up 
a fearful yell. Immediately, the fairy mother, without 
stopping to lift the latch, leaped over the " hecq " 
or half-door, and, restoring to the trembling housewife 
her babe uninjured, snatched up her own squalling 
brat, and departed by the same way she had come.* 


The parish of Notre Dame du Castel, or, as it is 

now the fashion to call it, St. Mary de Castro, is 

the largest in the island, but the church is situated 

at one extremity of the parish, close on the bounds 

* From Mrs. Savidan. (Also see Page 225). 


of St. Andrew's, to the great inconvenience of many 
of the parishioners. It is true that in former days 
they had some relief in the Chapels of Ste. Anne, 
St. George, and St. Germain, but chapels are not 
parish churches, and many, while trudging through 
the miry roads in winter, or toiling up the dusty 
hill in summer, when some of the great festivals 
required them to present themselves at the mother 
church, have inquired how it carne to pass that so 
inconvenient a site had been chosen. The old people, 
depositaries of the ancient traditions of the place,- will 
answer that originally the foundations were laid in 
a field called " Les Tuzes," but this was haunted 
ground, and a favourite resort of the fairies, and 
that, these little ladies, unwilling to yield up their 
rights without a struggle, in the course of a single 
night transported all the tools, stones, etc., in their 
cambric aprons, to the spot where the Church of 
St. Mary now stands. Thrice did this happen before 
the builders gave up their intention of erecting the 
sacred edifice on the site first chosen.* 


There is another story told of the fairy man who 
first came to Guernsey and carried away the beautiful 
t Michelle de Garis to be his wife. Though, vanquished 

* From Rachel Duport. 

Similar stories are told of the Forest Church, of St. Martin's and the Vale 
Churches, of St. Brelade's in Jersey, and many others. 

See Chambers' Popular Rhymes of Scotland, p. 335, and Notes and Queries, 
2nd Series, IV., 144. 

+ In those days Guernsey girls were not called Lavinia, Maud, Gladys, and 
all the ridiculous names with which modern parents disfigure the old Norman 
surnames, but they were called Michelle, Peronelle, the diminutive feminine 
of Pierre, equivalent to the English form Petronilla, Renouvette, (feminine of 
Ranulf or Ralph), Oriane, Carterette, Jaqueline, Colette or Colinette, and many 
other soft graceful old French names. 


by his courtliness and grace, she was persuaded to fly 
with him back to fairy land, she could not quite forget 
the father, mother, and brothers, whom she had left 
behind her in their cottage down by Vazon Bay. So 
she begged him to let her leave them some slight 
token by which to remember her. He thought for a 
few moments, and then gave her a bulb, which he 
told her to plant in the sand above the bay. He 
then whispered to the mother where to go to find a 
souvenir of her missing daughter, and, when she went, 
weeping, to the search, she found this bulb, burst into 
flower, a strange odourless beautiful blossom, decked 
with fairy gold, and without a soul for what is the 
scent but the soul of a flower a fit emblem of a 
denizen of fairyland. From that time the flower 
has been carefully cultivated in this island, the 
" Amaryllis Sarniensis," as it is called, nor will it 
flourish, however great the care, in any of the other 
islands ; it pines and degenerates when removed from 
the soil where it was first planted by the elfin 

* From Miss Lane. 


This fairy-story is not included by Sir Edgar MacCulloch, but was communicated to me by 
the late Miss Annie Chepmcll, who most kindly lent me her own manuscript book, in which 
she wrote down the legends she had herself collected among the country people^ I give it in 
her own words. 

" For a long time the fairies alone had possession of L'Ancresse, the cromlechs, hougues, 
and caves. But evil men rose up, and ambition and the lust of knowledge led them to 
cross the sea, and there to learn the mighty art of magic. They returned and quickly 
spread the sin of witchcraft in the island, so quickly that the harmless fairies had no time 
to accustom themselves to the miseries which were caused thereby, and which they had no 
power to remedy. Their hearts fairly broke to see their happy haunts invaded by witches and 
wizards, their fairy rings trampled down by the heavy feet of ' sorcieres,' and scorched by 
the hoofs of their demon partners every Friday night ; and their human friends and pet animals 
pining beneath charms and spells. Unable to bear these sorrows, the poor fairies met on 
their beloved L'Ancresse, and finding, after much consultation, that they could do nothing 
against the disturbers of their happiness, they sadly resolved to get rid of their past by 
drinking of the fountain of forgetfulness. There is, or rather was, for the ruthless quarries 
have much diminished its size a huge pile of rocks rising from the sea at the eastern 
extremity of L'Ancresse Bay. At the very top of this granite castle rises a little fountain, 



" I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall." 


" Thou rememb'rest 
Since once I sat upon a promontory, 
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back, 
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, 
That the rude sea grew civil at her song." 


A belief in the existence of mermaids is not quite 
extinct, although no tales relating to them appear 
to have been preserved among the people. An old 
man, living in the parish of the Forest, of the name 
of. Matthieu Tostevin, whose word might be implicitly 
relied on, affirmed to Mr. Denys Corbet, the master 
of the parochial school, that on one occasion, being 
on the cliffs over-looking Petit-B6t Bay, he saw a 
company of six mermaids, or, as he termed them 
" seirenes," disporting themselves on the sands below. 
He described them as usually depicted, half woman, 

cool in the hottest summer, unfrozen in the keenest frost. Its waters have the properties of 
Lethe those who drink of them forgetting the past. In a sad procession the fairy tribe moved 
across the bay, and, after having scaled the steep rocks, clustered round the fountain which 
was to give them the bliss of unconsciousness. But for them the fountain had no virtue ; they 
drank, and still the past came back, with all its joys and sorrows. In despair at finding even 
oblivion denied to them, they hastily determined to get rid of life itself. Rushing down the 
rocks they hurried across the Common to where stood three tall upright stones, with a third 
resting upon them a monument of far-off Druid times and there they hung themselves with 
blades of grass. So ended the kindly race in Guernsey, the fairy fountain and the upright 
stones their only monuments." 

"There are still a few lingering remnants of fairy lore to be found among the old country 
people. Old Miss Fallaize, aged eighty, remembers how, in her youth, eatables and drinkables 
were left outside the door with any unfinished work, and how in the morning the food was 
gone but she could not quite remember whether the work was done. But old Mr. Tourtel, 
over eighty, who was brought up as a boy at an old house at the Mont Durand, now pulled 
down, said that it was well known that the fairies lived in a ' vote ' (a Guernsey word for 
the French ' voutc,' a vaulted cave), above La Petite Porte. They, were a little people, but 
very strong, and would mend your cart wheels or spokes for you if you would put out some 

food for them." 
Also the woman living in the house called "St. Magloire " opposite the site of his old 

chapel, said she supposed " Monsieur Magloire " was the first man who came to these 

islands, and when I asked her who were living here when he came, she said " Oh, ' little 

people,' who lived in the cromlechs." 



>~H'f ^- -'mfe; 
fci VTk S* &$'%:.; 

: i ' ' ^v^w^?S 
_>* ,.-^ 

" Looking down Smith Street, 18/0." 


half fish. He hastened down to the beach as fast as 
he could, to get a nearer sight of them, but, on his 
approaching them, they took to the sea, and were 
immediately out of sight. 

It was doubtless a flock of seals which he saw, 
for, although these animals are no longer found in 
numbers on our coasts, a stray one is occasionally, 
though very rarely, to be seen. They are known to 
exist on the opposite shores of Brittany and 
Normandy, and the few specimens that have been 
taken in our seas are of the same variety as those 
found on the French coast. It is not improbable that 
they may have been more common in former days ; 
and it is possible that " Le Creux du Chien," a 
large cavern at the foot of the cliffs to the eastward 
of Petit-Bot Bay, may have been so named from 
being the resort of one of these amphibians.* 

* From Mr. Denys Corbet. 

EDITOR'S NOTK. In Sark as well as in Guernsey they still believe in sirens, and an old man 
there, who had been a fisherman in his youth, told me of these women who used to sit on 
the rocks and sing before a storm. In Sark they are considered youn? and beautiful, but 
Guernsey fishermen talk of old women who sit on the rocks and sing, and the ships are 
brought closer to the rocks by the curiosity of those on board to hear this mysterious music, 
and then the storm comes, and the ships go to pieces on the rocks, and the sirens, whether 
young or old, carry down the sailors to the bottom of the sea, and eat them. So the 
tradition goes. 


* Referring to the legend of the Changeling, as related on pages 219-220, Paul Sebillot also 
tells a story very similar to this. Tome I. p. 118-119. 

" Un jour une femme dit a sa voisine, 

" Ma pauvre commcre, je crains quo mon gars a etc change par les Margots 

j'voudrais bien savoir c'qui faut faire." 

" Vous prendrez d's ccufs ; vous leur casserez le petit bout, et puis d'cela vous mettrez 

des petits brochiaux d'bois dedans ; vous allumercz un bon feu ; vous les mettrez autour, 
debout ; et vous menerez le petit faitiau a. se chauffer aussi." 

La femme fit tout cola, et quand le petit faiteau vit les oeufs bouillir et les petits bois 
sauter dedans, il s'ecria : 

" Voila que j'ai bientot cent ans ; 

Mais jamais de ma vie durant 

Je n'ai vu tant de p'tits pots bouillants." 

La femme vit tout de suite que son enfant avait ote change et elle s'ecria : 

" Vilain petit sorcier, je vas te tuer ! " 

Mais la fee qui etait dans le grenier lui cria 

" N'tue pas le mien, j'ne tuerai 1'tien ; 

N'tien pas I'mien, j'te ren'rai 1'tien." 
See also Aruelie Bosquet, p. 116, etc. 



' Now I remember those old woman's words 
Who in my youth would tell me winter's tales, 
And speak of sprites and ghosts that glide by night 
About the place where treasure hath been hid." 

Marlon? s " Jew of Venice. ' 

' Will-a-wisp misleads night-faring clowns, 
O'er hills and sinking bogs." 

" Let night-dogs tear me, 
And goblins ride me in my sleep to jelly, 
Ere I forsake my sphere." 

Thierry and Theodoret. Act i. Sc. I. 


]HAT singular meteor, known by the English 
as Jack o'Lantern or "Will o' the Wisp," 
by the French as "Feu Follet," and by the 
Bretons as " Jan gant y tan " (John with the fingers 
or gloves of fire), bears in Guernsey the appellation 
of Lie Faeu Belengier the fire of Belenger. According 
to Mr. Metivier "Belenger" is merely a slight 
variation of the name " Volunde " or " Velint " 
Wayland, or Weyland Smith, the blacksmith of the 
Scandinavian gods. Belenger was married to a 
Valkyrie, daughter of the Fates, so runs the old 
Norse legend. He was, for the sake of some treasures 
belonging to him, or under his guardianship, carried 
away by a certain king as prisoner to an island, 


where the tyrant cut the sinews of his feet so as 
to prevent his running away, and then set him to 
work. Too clever, however, not to be able to compass 
his revenge, Belenger managed to kill the two sons 
of the despot, and fashioned their bones into vessels 
for the royal table. And then, having maltreated the 
princess, daughter of his quondam master, he flew 
away through the air, and the name Belenger has 
become identified in popular mythology with any 
especially clever worker in metals. In English popular 
tradition the name of Belenger becomes contracted 
into Yelint, or Wayland Smith, and, according to 
Sir Walter Scott, " this Wayland was condemned to 
wander, night after night, from cromlech to cromlech, 
and belated travellers imagined that they then beheld 
the fire from his forge issuing from marshes and 
heaths." The natives of Iceland, descended from our 
own paternal ancestors of the tenth century, say still 
of a clever craftsman that he is a " Belengier " in 

In Guernsey they say it is a spirit in pain, 
condemned to wander, and which seeks to deliver 
itself from torment by suicide." * Its presence is also 
supposed to indicate in very many cases the existence 
of hidden treasures, and many a countryman is known 
to have made a fruitless journey over bog and morass 
in the hope of locating the flickering flame. It is 
also firmly believed by all the country people that 
if a knife is fixed by the handle to a tree, or stuck 
in the earth with the point upwards, the spirit or 
demon that guides the flame will attack and fight 
with it, and that proofs of the encounter will be 

* See Metivier's Dictionary, Art : Belengier. 

Q 2 


fotpid next morning in the drops of blood found on 
the blade.* f 


As we have already stated " Le Faeu Belengier " 
is supposed to indicate the existence of hidden 
treasure, and it is well known that when treasures 
have been hidden for any considerable time the evil 
spirit acquires a property in them, and does all in 
his power to prevent their falling into the possession 
. of mortals. Nevertheless the .meteor-like form which 
the Belengier assumes, frequently betrays their place 
of concealment as it plays about the spot, and if a 
person have sufficient courage and perseverance he 
may become the possessor. The wiles, however, of 
the demon, and his efforts to retain his own, 
frequently prove successful, as the following narratives 
will testify. It appears, however, that the guardian 
spirit has no power to remove the treasure, unless 
the adventure have first been attempted by a mortal. 
A country-woman had often observed flames of fire 
issuing from and hovering round the earth within 
the threshold of her house, and, knowing well what 

* From Rachel Du Port, and others. 

Yorkshire Folk- Lore Notes and Queries, 4th Series. I ; 193. " If ever you 
are pursued by a Will-o'-the-Wisp, the best thing to do is to put a steel 
knife into the ground, with the handle upwards. The Will-o'-the-Wisp will run 
round this until the knife is burnt up, and you will thus have the means of 


+ " Tout le monde connait ces exhalaisons de gaz inflammable qui brillent quelquefois dans 
les endroits marecageux et qui cffraient tant les enfants et les vieilles. Ces feux sont appeles 
dans nos campagnes La Fourlore, le feu folL-t, ou le feu errant. Ce sont des amcs damnees ; 
et, suivant quelques personnes, ces Ames sont celles de pretres criminels ou libertins. Elles 
cherchent a eblouir les voyageurs, a. les entrainer dans les precipices, et a les Jeter dans 
1'eau. Quand le feu follet, esprit d'ailleurs fort jovial, est venu a bout de son entreprise il 
quittc sa victime avec de grands eclats de rire, et il disparait." Recherches stir la. Nortnandie, 
par Du Bois, 1845, p. 310. 

See also, Fouquet Legendes du Morbilian, p. 140. Le Men Revue Celt, p. 230. 
A. Bosquet, pp. 135-143. . 


they indicated, one day, when all the other inmates 
of the dwelling were in the fields busied in getting 
in the harvest, she determined on searching for the 
treasure. She procured a pick-axe, closed and barred 
all the doors to secure herself against interruptions, 
and proceeded to work. She had not dug long, 
before a violent thunderstorm arose. Though alarmed, 
she continued her task, but the rain, which now 
began to fall in torrents, drove the field labourers 
to seek shelter in the house. By this time the 
woman had struck on a brazen pan, which, she had 
no doubt, covered the treasure, and was in no hurry 
to open to the men who were clamouring at the 
door for admission. She was at last obliged to yield 
to their entreaties, and, turning her back on the hole 
she had dug, unbarred the door. Her dismay was 
great, when, on looking back on her work, she saw 
the pan turned up, and the whole treasure abstracted. 
The demon had seized this opportunity to take 
possession of his own. 

A man had reason to believe, from the flames 
which he had seen hovering about a certain spot, 
that a treasure was hidden there. Accordingly, one 
night, he took his spade and lantern and dug till 
he came to a large jar, which contained what 
appeared to him to be shells.* Suspecting that this 
might be a stratagem of the evil spirit to deter him 
from obtaining possession of the treasure, he carefully 
gathered up the whole, and took it home with him. 
On examining the parcel the next morning, he found 

* It is perhaps to the fact that limpet shells are found in the cromlechs, 
which are always supposed to bs the repository of hidden treasure, that the 
idea that buried gold, when discovered by mortals, is transformed by its 
guardian spirit into worthless shells, is entertained by the peasantry. 


he had judged rightly, for the apparent shells of the 
preceding night had now resumed their original form 
of gold and silver coin. 

Another man was less fortunate, for, finding nothing 
but what he conceived to be shells, -he hesitated 
about removing them, and was effectually deterred by 
the appearance of an immense animal, resembling a 
black conger-eel with fiery eyes, coiled up in the 
hole which he had dug.* 


The "Varou," now almost entirely forgotten, seems 
to have belonged to the family of nocturnal goblins. 
He is allied to the " Loup-G-arou " of the French, 
and the "Were- Wolf" of the English, if, indeed, he 
is not absolutely identical with them. He is believed 
to be endowed with a marvellous appetite, and it is 
still proverbially said of a great eater " II mange 
comme un varou." f 

* From Rachel Du Port. 

"4 Oct. 1586. Procedures contre Edmond Billot, Richard Le Petevin, Nicollas 
Le Petevin, et Jean Moullin, pour avoir ete de nuit fouyr a Ste. Anne, 
St. George, et a St. Germain pour chercher des tresors qu'un nomme Baston, 
des parties de Normandie, leur avoit dit y etre deposes, savoir : trois a 
St. George, un dans la muraille, un autre enterre dans la chapelle, et un 
troisieme dehors, un a Ste." Anne, et un a St. Germain au milieu du champ." 
Proceedings of the Royal Court. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. See Traditions et Superstitions de La Haute Bretagne. Tome I., p. 39 etc. 
" On m'a conte a Dinan que lorsque les chercheurs de tresors eurent creuse a la base du 
Monolithe, il sortit de la terre des flammes qui lei forc&rent a interrompre leur travail. 
On assure qu'a differentes epoques on a fait des fouilles sous un meulier de la foret de 
Brotonne, dit 'La Pierre aux Houneux' pour y decouvrir un tresor; mais a chaque foil 

d'effrayantes apparitions les firent discontinuer De? ouvriers qui avaient tente 

d'enlever le tresor de Neaufle se virent entoures de flammes." A. Bosquet, p. 159-186. 

t " La veille de la fete de Noel, a nuit close, dans un lieu prescrit par le 
consentement de la communaute en Prusse, en Livonie, et en Lithuanie, 
1'affluence des hommes changes en loups est telle que les ravages perpetres 
cette nuit-la contre les bergers et les troupeaux sont beaucoup plus graves que 
ceux des veritables loups. S'insinuant dans les caves, Us y grenouillent et vous 


"Aller en varouverie" was an expression used in 
former times in speaking of those persons who met 
together in unfrequented places for the purposes of 
debauchery or other illicit practices. Among the 
Acts of the Consistory of the parish of St. Martin's, 
in the time when the island was still under the 
Presbyterian discipline, is to be found a censure on 
certain individuals who had been heard to say one 
night that the time was propitious " pour aller en 
varouverie sous 1'epine." 

Varou was originally from the Breton Varw " the 
dead" and was identified with the "Heroes" or 
beatified warriors, who were, by Homer and Hesiod, 
supposed to be in attendance on Saturn. Guernsey, 
in the days of Demetrius, was known by the name 
of the Isle of Heroes, or of Demons, and Saturn 
was said to be confined there in a " golden rock," 
bound by " golden chains." 

There is the " Creux des Varous," which extends, 
according to tradition, from Houmet to L'Eree, and 
is a subterranean cavern formed of rock sprinkled 
with an abundance of yellow mica, which sparkles 
like gold ; a plot of ground near the cromlech at 
L'Eree, known as " Le Creux des .Fees," still bears 
the name of " Le Camp du Varou ; ' and an estate 
in the parish of St. Saviour's is called "Le Mont- 
Varou." Old people remember that it used to be 
said in their youth that " Le Char des Varous" 

sablent plusieurs tonneaux de biere ou d'hydromel. Us s'amusent alors a entasser 
les futailles vides au beau milieu du cellier. Le bon prelat ajoute, que de tres 
grands seigneurs ne dedaignent pas de s'agriger a cette confrerie maudite. C'est 
un des ancieus adeptes qui initie 1'aspirant varou ou garou dans une ample 
tasse ds cervoiss." Mceurs des Peuples du Nord, par Olaus Magnus, 
Vol. VI., p. 46. 


was to be heard rolling over the cliffs and rocks on 
silver-tyred wheels, between Houmet and the Castle 
of Albecq, before the death of any of the great ones 
of the earth ; and how this supernatural warning was 
sure to be followed almost immediately by violent 
storms and tempests. * 


The 10th of January, in Eoman days, was 
dedicated to the Fera Dea, or cruel goddess, of 
which Hero Dias is a literal Celtic interpretation 
here. She is the queen of the witches, and 
although Satan himself is the coinmander-in-chief of 
the witches, he has a mate who participates in his 
authority, and leads the dance when his votaries 
meet to celebrate their midnight orgies at Catioroc 
or Eocquaine. This is no less a personage than the 
dissolute and revengeful woman by whose evil 
counsel the holy precursor of our Saviour was put 
to death by Herod. To her, more particularly, is 
attributed the rising of sudden storms, and especially 
of those which take the form of a whirlwind. It 
sometimes happens that during the warm and sultry 
days of harvest a gust of wind will suddenly arise, 
and, whirling round the field, catch up and disperse 
the ears of corn which the reaper has laid in due 
order for the binder of the sheaves. The countryman 
doubts not but that this is caused by Herodias 
shaking her petticoats in dancing " Ch'est la fille 
d'Herode qui chdque ses cotillons,' 1 and he loses no 
time in hurling his reaping hook in the direction she 
appears to be moving. It is said that this has 

* Mostly from Mr. George Metivier. 


generally the effect of stopping the progress of the 

These sudden gusts are locally known by the name 
of " lieroguidzes" and, although there is so easy a 
means of dispersing them as that indicated above, 
the man who would venture to throw his sickle or 
knife at them must be endowed with no small 
degree of courage.* f 


This was a demon used by old Guernsey nurses 
to frighten their infant charges. " Le Barboue 

* From Mr. George Metivier. 

Father Martin, the oracle of Gaulish divinity, has lavished floods of ink on 
Herodias. According to him she is the genius of the whirlwind the "mid- 
day," as well as a mid-night, demon. Here she continues to " ride on the 
whirlwind," and " direct the storm." Instead of driving her away with holy 
water, as our Catholic neighbours do, we fling a sickle at " La Vieille " with 
pious indignation, whenever the eddying straws announce her arrival in the 

Near " Le Ras de Fontenay," so infamous for its shipwrecks, the little 
island of Sain, off Finistere, was dedicated to He'ro Dias. There she presided 
over the oracle of " Sena," the Hag. Her priestesses were nine shrivelled 
hags, and their island derived its appellation from the hag, their mistress. 
None but mariners, suitors for a bagful of favourable wind, were admissible to 
the presence of these ladies, who spent their time " sur le rocher desert, Peffroi 
de la nature," in a very edifying manner brewing storms, manufacturing hail, 
lightning, thunder, and so forth, and changing themselves into a variety of 
brutal forms (Pomponius Mela). 

That there is a two-headed serpent which caresses Dame Herodias on a bas- 
relief of the temple of Mont-Morillon in Poitou, may be remembered en passant. 


tAccording to the old Latin " Romaunt de Renard," Herodias loved John the Baptist. The 
jealous King caused him to be beheaded. His head, by her order, was carried to her, 
and she wished to kiss it, but the head turned away, and blew with so much violence that 
Herodias was blown into the air. Since then, St. John, faithful to his antipathy, has made 
her travel for ever in the deserts of the sky, and become the genius of the storm. 

Some confound her with " Habunde," who may have been a white lady, or one of those 
"genii" whom the Celts call " dusi." Chtonijue de Philippe Mouskes, Tome II. Introduction 
P- 139- 

Some also think that Herodias will, if anyone dances at harvest time, bring shipwreck and 
disasters at sea. From Mr. Isaac Le Patourel. 

\ May not this be a corruption of Barbc Bleue the Blue Beard who has frightened SQ 
many children both in France and England? 

234 00&lflS&r FOLK-LORE. 

V attrappera " was quite threat enough to make the 
naughtiest child repent of his misdeeds. According 
to Mr. Metivier (See Dictionary, p. 51. Barboue), this 
name " Barboue " is a corruption of bared meleu, 
the spectre which personifies the plague among the 
Cymri. According to the legends, " Barbaou Herve " 
was the wolf who accompanied St. Herve, a sainted 
hermit of the country of Leon, . 560. He was 
evidently ' related to the French " Loup-Garou." 


Many places have the reputation of being haunted 
by phantoms which make their appearance at the 
dead of night, not always in a human form, as the 
spirits of the departed are wont to do when they 
revisit " the glimpses of the moon," but in the more 
fearful shapes of beasts and nondescript monsters. 
"La Bete de la Tour," "Le Cheval de St. George," 
which has already been spoken of in connection with 
the well, and " Le Chien Bodu," are among these. 

The " devises," or boundary stones, which served 
in olden times to mark the limits of some of the 
principal "fiefs" or manors, but which have now 
disappeared, leaving only a name to the locality, 
appear to have been the particular resort of these 
spectres; and it is not improbable that the superstition 
may have arisen from the custom, of which traces 
are to be found in many nations, of sacrificing a 
victim and burying it where the stone of demarcation 
was to be set up. It was not, however, these places 
only which became the haunt of spectres ; other 
spots came in also for their share of these nocturnal 
and frightful visitors. A lonely dwelling, especially if 
uninhabited, a dark lane far from any friendly cottage, 


cromlechs, or spots where these mysterious erections 
once stood all these either had, or were likely to 
acquire, an evil reputation in this respect, and more 
especially if tradition pointed to any deed of horror, 
such as murder or suicide, connected with the place 
or its neighbourhood. 

The headless dog which haunts the Yille-au-Eoi, 
and which will be spoken of in the legend attached 
to that ancient domain, is an instance of these 
spectres. The best known of them is " Tchi-co," or 
the "Bete de la Tour," but there are also "La Bete 
de la Devise de Sausmarez a Saint Martin," which 
is a black dog supposed to haunt the avenue by 
Sausmarez Manor. * 

There is no doubt that in early times the town 
of St. Peter Port was encircled by walls, and 
fortified indeed there is an order of Edward III. in 
1350, authorising the levy of a duty on merchandise 
for this purpose. Certain spots, called "les barrieres," 
mark where the gates were situated, and, although all 
remains of the walls have long since disappeared, it 
is not difficult to trace the course they must have 
taken. At the northern extremity of the original 


Then there is the " Rue de la Bete " at St. Andrew's, on the borders of the Fief Rohais. 
Near this lane there was formerly a prison, so that it is probably full of associations of crime 
and malefactors. There is also a " Rue de la Bete " near L'Eree, between " Claire Mare " 
and the Rouvets, where, to this day, people will not go alone after dark, and they still tell 
the story (so wrote Miss Le Pelley, who lived in that neighbourhood), of a man, a 
M. Vaucourt, who, driving down that lane in the dark, the " Bete " got up into the cart, 
which so scared the unfortunate man that he died the next day. There was also a black dog 
which haunted the Forest Road, clanking its chains. The father of one old woman who told 
the story, saw and was followed by this beast one night when walking home from St. Martin's 
to his house near the Forest Church. HJ was so frightened that he took to his bed and 
died of the shock very shortly afterwards. There is also " La Bete de la Rue Mase," on the 
western limits of the Town parish, the "Coin de la Biche," at St. Martin's, between Saints' 
and La Villette, and in the cross lane running from the " Carrefour David " to the " Profonds 
Camps," past the house now called " St. Hilda," a small white hare was supposed to be seen 
on stormy nights, accompanied by " Le Faeu Belengier." 


town, the name of " La Tour Gand" indicates a 
fortress of some sort. The southern extremity was 
protected by a work called "La Tour Beauregard," 
of sufficient importance to be named, together with 
Castle Cornet, in the warrants or commissions issued 
by the monarch to those who were intrusted with 
the defence of the island. 

This fortress stood near the top of Cornet Street, 
on the brow of the hill which overlooks the Bordage 
and Fountain Street, where now stands St. Barnabas' 
Church. Tradition points to a spot at the foot of 
the hill, as the place where the execution of heretics 
and witches, by burning, used to take place, and 
connects with these sad events a spectral appearance 
which, even within the present century, was believed 
to haunt the purlieus of the old tower. 

During the long nights of winter, and especially 
about Christmastide, the inhabitants of Tower-hill, the 
Bordage, Fountain Street, and Cornet Street used to 
be roused from their midnight slumbers by hearing 
unearthly howlings and the clanking of heavy chains, 
dragged over the rough pavement. 

Those who could summon up courage enough to 
rise from their beds and peep out of window, declared 


See Pluquet in Contes Populaires de Bayeux, p. 16, for an account of a phantom in the 
shape of a great dog that wanders about the streets of Bayeux in the winter nights gnawing 
bones and dragging chains, called " Le Rongeur d'Os." 

See also Sir Walter Scott's note in Peveril of the Peak, Vol. II., Chap. I., on the spectral 
hound or " Mauthe Doog " a large black spaniel, which used to haunt Peel Castle in the 
Isle of Man. 

There is also in Laisnel de la Salle's book Croyanccs et Legendes du Centre de la France, 
Tome I. p. 181, a long story of " Le Loup Kron," which in many respects resembles that 
of our " Bete de la T >ur." 

In Sark " they have another superstitious belief, that of the Tchico, or old dog, the dog of 
the dead, the black or white b ;ast. Several affirm having seen it, and met it walking about 
the roads. This dog affects certain localities, and makes its regular rounds, but often it is 
invisible." From Descriptive Sketch of the Island of Sark, by the Rev. J. L. V. Cachemaille, 
published in Clarke's Guernsey Magazine, Vol. III., October. 1875. 

In Brand's Antiquities, Vol. III., p. 330, he identifies the English " Barguest," or " Great 
Dog Fiend," with the Norman " Rongeur d'Os," and the " Boggart " of Lancashire, great 
dog-spirits, which prowl about in the night-time, dragging heavy chains behind them. ' 


that they saw the form of a huge uncouth animal 
with large flaming saucer eyes, and somewhat like a 
bear, or huge calf. This spectre was known as 
"Tchi-co, La Bete de la Tour." 


This black dog was said to infest the Clos du 
Valle, and was probably a resident of the Ville Bodu, 
which was at one time the slaughter-house of the 
Benedictine monks of St. Michel du Yalle. To see 
him was taken as a sure sign of approaching death. 
According to Mr. Metivier, he derived his name from 
" the German Bohdu, and Gaulish Bodu, which mean 
the Abyss, and the mythological dog of Hades is our 
'Chien'Bodu.' " * 


Although this story is known to everyone, and is to 
be found in all the local histories and guide books, no 
collection of Guernsey folk - lore can be considered 
perfect without it. It is just one of those stories that 
are calculated to make a profound impression on the 
popular mind, as showing the special interposition of 
Providence in preserving a poor and innocent man from 
the effects of a false accusation, and in causing the 
nefarious designs of a rich and unprincipled oppressor 
to fall back with just retribution on his own head. 

Whether the story be founded on an occurrence 
which did actually take place in this island, whether 
it originated elsewhere, or whether it be a pure 
invention, it is now impossible to determine, f The 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * In Croyances et Legendes du Centre de la France Laisnel de la S.ille 
has a chapter. (Tome I. pp. 168-175), on "La Chasse a Bodet" which he describes as " une 
chasse nocturne qui traverse les airs avec des hurleraents, des mieulements et des abois 
epouvantables, auxquels se raelent des cris de menace et des accents d'angoisse," and he 
identifies (p. 172), " Bodet " with the German Woden, who is the same as the Scandinavian 
Odin, Gwyon of the Gauls, the Egyptian Thot, Hermes of the Greeks, and Mercury of the 
Latins, who filled, in the Teutonic Mythology, the role of "Conductor of Souls." 

t See note on page 245. 



Manor, Vijle au Roi," 


name of the principal personage in the tale Gaultier 
de la Salle is to 'be found at the head of the lists 
of Bailiffs of Guernsey, with the date 1284, but no 
-written evidence has yet been adduced to prove that 
anyone of the name ever held that office. There is, 
however, proof of a certain kind that a person bearing 
this name did exist at some period of the fourteenth 
century, for, in a manuscript list of Bailiffs, which 
appears to have been compiled about the year 1650, 
the writer, who seems careful not to place any on 
record for whom he cannot produce documentary 
evidence, appends this note to the name of John Le 
Marchant, Bailiff from 1359 to 1383 : " J'en ay lettre 
de 1370 concernant la veuve Gaultier de la Salle." 

That no document is known to exist in which this 
name appears is no proof that Gaultier de la Salle 
did not hold the office. Previously to the reign of 
Edward I. it appears to have been the custom for 
the Warder or Governor of the island to appoint an 
officer with the title of Bailiff, who combined the 
functions of Lieutenant-Governor, chief magistrate, and 
Receiver of the Crown Revenues, and who was 
generally changed annually. The names of many of 
these dignitaries have been preserved, but there are 
still several blanks to be filled up, and it is not 
impossible that the name of Gaultier de la Salle 
may some day or other be found as holding this 
important charge, although probably at a later date 
than that usually assigned to him 1284. 

The estate of the Ville-au-Roi is said to have 
borne originally the name of "La Petite Ville.'' * It 
has now dwindled down to a few fields, but was 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* To this day one of the fields on the adjoining estate of " Le Mont 
Durant," belonging to Colonel de Querin, bears the name of "Petite Ville," 


doubtless at one period of far greater extent and 
importance than at the present time. The house, which 
may probably be assigned to the fifteenth century, 
is now much diminished in size from what it was, 
even a few years since, but it still presents an 
interesting specimen of the architecture of former 
days. It consisted, when perfect, of a building, 
forming two sides of a square, with a tower in the 
angle, where may yet be seen the holes for arrows. 
It contained a well-wrought newel staircase in stone, 
leading to a large room, which appears to have been 
the principal apartment in the house, if we may 
judge from the careful workmanship bestowed on the 
handsomely carved granite chimney piece, the traces 
of stone mullions in the windows, and the ornamental 
open timber roof, now hidden by a low ceiling. A 
wall of unusual thickness divides this portion of the 
building into two parts ; and a few steps from the 
head of the staircase of which \ve have spoken, lead 
to the remains of another newel resting on this wall, 
which evidently formed part of a turret rising above 
the ridge of the roof, and which could have served 
no purpose but that of ornament, or perhaps a 
lookout over the neighbouring country. There are 
some detached farm buildings, and traces of a wall 
surrounding the homestead, intended probably to form 
an inclosure into which the cattle might be driven 
at night. The remains of an arched gateway at 
the end of the avenue, leading from the main road, 
and connecting the western gable of the dwelling house 
with an out-building, are still to be discerned. This 
was exactly opposite the principal door of the mansion, 
which is of good proportions, with a well-executed 
circular headway in granite, over which is a square 


recess in the masonry which doubtless once contained 
the armorial device of the original proprietor. There 
is reason to believe this was a member of the De 
Beauvoir family, once very numerous and influential 
in the island but now extinct, for it was well known 
that the family was formerly in possession of this 
estate, and the existence of their arms a chevron 
between three cinq-foils carved in granite on the 
mantelpiece of the principal room, is almost sufficient 
proof of one of the name having been the original 
builder of the house.* The estate afterwards passed 
into the possession of the De la Marche family also 
extinct. From them it descended to a family of the 
name of Le Poidevin. These last falling into pecuniary 
difficulties, the property by the legal process called 
" saisie " came into the hands of the present (1859) 
proprietor, Thomas Le Eetilley, Esq., Jurat of the 
Royal Court. 

Whilst the recently-abolished manorial Court of 
the Priory of St. Michel du Yalle still existed, there 
was a curious servitude attached to this estate. 
When this Court made its periodical procession 
through the island to inspect the King's highway 
and see that it was kept in due repair, the proprietor 
of the Yille-au-Roi was expected to furnish a cup of 
milk to everyone legally entitled to a place in the 
cortege, and the procession made a halt at the gate 


* There is documentary evidence proving that in the early part of the fifteenth century the 
" Ville au Roi " estate belonged to John Thiault, Jurat of the Royal Court. He died, leaving 
three daughters, of whom the eldest married Perrin Careye, and thus brought these lands into the 
Carey family, where they remained until the year 1570, when Collette Careye, great, great 
grand-daughter of Perrin Careye, married Guillaume De Beauvoir, and received the Ville au Roi 
estate as her share of her father's property. The property did not remain long in the possession 
of the De Beauvoir family, as we find, September 24, 1636, " Monsieur Jean de la Marche, 
ministre," its owner, "a cause d'Ester De Beauvoir, sa femme, fille de Collette Careye." 

The Reverend John de la Marche, Rector of St. Andrew's and subsequently of the Town 
parish, married Esther, daughter of William de Beauvoir and Collette Careye, January 24th, 1616. 


to demand the accustomed refreshment, which was 
willingly afforded, although immemorial usage alone 
could be pleaded for the exaction. 

It is now time to come to the legend itself. In 
the earliest records which the human race possesses 
the Holy Scriptures we read that disputes arose 
about wells and the right of drawing water from 
them. Where water is scarce, as it is in some parts 
of the East, this can readily be understood, but why 
should any disagreement occur in places where 
this indispensable element abounds ? The answer is 
simply this. The well is for the most part the 
property of one person, and situated on his ground, 
and those who claim a right to the use of it, must 
necessarily pass over their neighbour's land to get at 
it. It is clear that this right may be exercised in 
such a manner as to become vexatious and trouble- 

Gaultier de la Balle had a poor neighbour of the 
name of Massy, who was the proprietor of a small 
field containing little more than a vergee of land 
at the back of the Bailiff's house, but with this 
land he possessed also the right, no doubt by virtue 
of some ancient and binding contract of drawing 
water from a well on De la Salle's property. Often 
had the Bailiff offered to buy off this right, to give 
a fair and even liberal price for the piece of ground 
to which the privilege was attached. Massy was 
obstinate. His answer to every offer was that of 
Naboth to Ahab "The Lord forbid it me that I 
should give the inheritance of my fathers to thee." 

Annoyed at Massy 's pertinacious refusal to accede 
to his wishes, Gaultier de la Salle formed the horrible 
design of taking away his life, but how was this to 


be done without causing suspicion ? Open violence, 
even in those days, was not to be thought of. Secret 
assassination might be discovered. At last the acute 
mind of the unworthy Bailiff hit on an expedient 
which appeared to him perfectly safe. It was to 
make the forms of the law subservient to his wicked 
designs, and, under the guise of a judicial proceeding, 
to cause the ruin and death of the unfortunate 
Massy. Theft was then, and for too many centuries 
after, punished with death. If he could succeed in 
fixing an accusation of this kind on the innocent 
Massy, he nattered himself that there would be no 
difficulty in obtaining a conviction, and then would 
follow the utmost penalty of the law, and the 
consequent forfeiture of the felon's lands and goods 
to the King, from whom he hoped to get a grant 
or sale of the field. To carry out his nefarious 
intention, he hid two of his own silver cups in a 
cornstack, and adroitly contrived to cause a suspicion 
of having stolen them to rest on his too-obstinate 
neighbour. Circumstantial evidence, skilfully combined, 
was not wanting on the day of trial, and, notwith- 
standing his vehement protestations of innocence, poor 
Massy was found guilty -and condemned to death. 
The day fixed for the execution arrived, and the 
Bailiff proceeded to the Court House with the 
intention of witnessing the death of the unfortunate 
victim of his own false accusation. But "the wicked 
man diggeth a pit and falleth into the . midst .-_oL it 
himself." Before leaving home, he gave orders to 
some of his workmen to take down a certain stack 
of corn, and house it in the barn. He had barely 
taken his seat in Court, where the magistrates had 
assembled for the purpose, as was then the custom, 

P 2 


Houses in Church Square, 1825." 


of attending the culprit to the place of execution, 
and seeing their sentence duly carried out, when 
a messenger, almost breathless, rushed in and 

" The cups are found." 

"Fool!" cried the Bailiff. " Did I not tell thee 

not to touch that rick. I knew ." Here he 

stopped short in confusion, perceiving' that he had 
already said enough to raise the suspicions of those 
who had heard him. 

The Jurats immediately gave orders to stay the 
execution. The matter was submitted to a searching 
investigation, and resulted in a full exposure of the 
Bailiff's nefarious plot. Thereupon Gaultier de la Salle 
was sentenced to suffer the same punishment that he 
had intended for the innocent Massy, and his estate 
was declared to be confiscated to the King, since 
which time it has borne the appellation of " La 
Ville-au-Eoi." It is said that he was hanged at a 
spot in the parish of St. Andrew's, where, until the 
last century, executions * usually took place, and that, 
on his way to the gibbet, he stopped and received 
the Holy Sacrament at the foot of a cross, which, 
though long destroyed, has given its name to the 
locality " La Croix au Baillif." An old lane bounding 
the land of the Ville-au-Roi on the north, and which 
was closed in the early part of last century, when 
the present high road was cut, bore the singular 

* The field at St. Andrew's where the executions took place was called 
" Les Galeres," and near it is a lane leading to a water-mill, called " Moulin 
de L'fichelle, " because the miller had, for his tenure, to provide the ladder 
for the executions. 

There is a small piece of land, just off the road which passes the Monnaie, and 
leads from the Bailiff's Cross Road to the Ecluse Corbin, which is known as "Le 
Fri<juet du Gibet," 



name of " La Rue de 1' Ombre de la Mort. M It had 
naturally an evil reputation as the resort of 
phantoms and hobgoblins, and even in the present 
day it is with fear and trembling that the belated 
peasant in returning from town passes the avenue 
of aged elms that leads up to the ruined mansion of 
the iniquitous judge. 

Many will tell you how, at the witching hour of 
night, they have seen a huge, headless black dog 
rush out and brush past them, and how those who 
have been bold enough to strike at the phantom 
might as well have beaten the air, for their cudgel 
met with no resistance from anything corporeal. 
No one doubts that it is the unquiet spirit of Gaultier 
de la Salle, doomed to wander till the great day of 
judgment around the field for the sake of which 


In the Record Office exists (Assize Roll No. 1165, 17 Edward II., 1323!, a petition of 
"Cecilia, who was wife of Walter de la Sale," for restitution of lands and rentes bought in 
their name and in that of their children, in the parishes of St. Peter Port and St. Andrew's; 
" and that these tenements, on account of the death of the said Walter, who was judicially 
executed last criminal assizes, now three years past, before Peter Le Marchant, then Bailiff 
of the Island, had been seized by the King .... Upon the inquisition of 12 men of the -parish 
of St. Peter Port, and 12 men of the parish of St. Andrew's, who depose upon their oath, 
that the aforesaid Walter was condemned before Peter Le Marchant, Bailiff of the aforesaid 
Island, for the murder of Ranulph * Vautier, three years ago. An inquisition was made, and on 
account of the said murder, the said lands were seized into the King's hands, and for this cause, 
and no other, are still detained .... A day given to the said Cecilia for the hearing of her 
case at Jersey, on which day the aforesaid Cecilia came, and it is determined that the King- 
removes his hand (i.e., restores the land), and that from henceforth she has possession." 

The British Museum contains a document, (Add : Ch : 19809) which gives further particulars 
of " la peticion Cecile qui fut fame Gaultier de la Salle," sh j claiming the lands, etc., 
.as having .been bought with her money " et disante que 1'avant dit son mari vint en 
lylle desus 'dicte sans nul bien fors son corps." From this document it appears that Cecilia 
.and her husband built the house, presumably that now known as " La Ville-au-Roi," for she 
claims " une meson seante en la ville de Saint Pierre Port, de laquelle la place fut fiefeye 
de Jourdan et de Johan des Maons . . . . et que du mariage de la dicte Cecile ovecques ^autres 
biens pourchaciez par yceluy mariage, fistent la dicte meson." .... Signed at St. Peter Port, 
:dth of October, 1323, before Geoffrey de la t [Hou] gue Guillaume Karupel, Richart Toullay, 
Guion Nicolle, RenoufdeVic, Henri de la ft Mule], Guillaume le Genne, Johan Fale, Ranulph 
leMoigne, de Saint Pierre Port, and Radulph de Beaucamp, Jurats of the King's Court. 

The Assize Roll of 32 Edward I (130^ irentions the murder of Brother John del Espin, of 
the Priory of Lyhou, by Ranulph Vautier and Guillaume Lenginour, who, after having taken 
refuge in the Church of St. Sampson, and abjured the Islands, were pardoned by the King. 
Guillaume L'Enginour seems to have been subsequently Gaultier de la Salle's accomplice in 

* He seems to have been called "Vautier" or "Gautier" indiscriminately, 
t Letters illegible, but have been supplied from the " Second Report of Commissioners 
(Guernsey), P- 303, viz., Names of Officials 5 Ed. III. 


he was led into such deadly sin, happy even if so 
dreadful a penance could expiate his guilt. 


At no great distance from the thriving village of 
St. Sampson's, which, thanks to its commodious 
harbour, the neighbouring granite quarries, and an 
extensive trade in stone carried on there, bids fair 
to become a town, stands what was formerly the 
mansion of a considerable branch of the Le Marchant 
family,* one of the most ancient and influential in 
the Channel Archipelago. It is known as " Les 
Grentmaisons," the name of a family that has been 
extinct for some centuries, but which possessed lands 
in this part of the island. The house is situated on 
the high road leading from St. Sampson's to the 

the murder of Ranulph Gautier, for the "Lettres Closes" of 1321, mention the restoration of 
lands to " Guillaume L'Enginour demeurant accuse de la mort do Ranulphe Gautier, tue dit 
on criminellement, et du vol d'un anneau d'argent au meme Ranulphe, et d'un florin d'or a 
John de Souslemont, Chapelain"; he being willing to stand his trial when called upon. 

Among the "Ancient Petitions" No. 4345 contains a request from John du Vivier, Thomas 
d'Estefeld, and Philip de Vincheles of Guernsey and Jersey, " for protection from the friends 
of Gaultier de la Salle, his wife, his son, and his relations, who threaten them because he 
was hanged for the murder of Renouf Gautier, murdered in the Castle of Guernsey, by his 
acquaintances and others who abjured (the Islands), for this deed, such as Master William le 
Enginour, John Justice, and Christian Hert " . . . . 

The Calendars of Patent Rolls for the years 1313-14, contain mentions of "Protections" 
for ''Walter de la Salle. clerk" to "the islands of Gcrneseye and Jereseye," and in the 
Assize Roll of 1319, he is described as "Minister" of Otho de Grandison, then Governor 
of the Islands. 

A Ranulph Gautier was one time bailiff to Otho de Grandison, so the feud between the two 
may have been of long standing. Gaultier de la Salle was probably a member of one of the 
many Anglo-Norman families then connected with the Channel Islands. His wife Cecilia was 
evidently a Guernseywoman, and part of their land in St. Andrew's parish was inherited from 
Havise, his wife's mother. There is reason to believe that he was the son of a Robert de la 
Salle, and Agnes his wife, who were landowners in England in the early part of the i4th 
Century; his son, Nicholas, was King's Receiver to Edward III., in 1372-3. 

It is not possible to absolutely locate the lands held by Gaultier de la Salle, but in a 
British Museum MS. (Clarence Hopper) is quoted a document, then in the Chapter House, 
Westminster, shewing that part of the " Eschaet '' of " Gaiter de Sale " was the " Clos au 
Botiller," which particular " Clos " has been identified as part of the territory now known as 
Le Vauquiedor, and in the petition of Cecilia, widow of Gaultier, she mentions lands bought 
from " Guillaume et Richard le Hubie." Both the Hubits Lanes and the Vauquiedor estate 
adjoin that of the Ville-au-Roi, the traditionary seat of Gaultier de la Salle. 

From documents kindly lent me by Lord de Saumarez, Colonel y. H. C. Carey and 
Colonel de Guerin. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * It was bought by the the Reverend Thomas Le Marchant, Rector of St, 
Sampson's parish, August the sixth, 1655. 


town of St. Peter Port, and, although surrounded at 
the present time on all sides, was, at the beginning 
of the present century, far removed from any dwelling 
none indeed being then in sight but those of the 
town, distant at least two miles. 

At that time the proprietor, who possessed a very 
handsome dwelling in St. Peter Port, only inhabited 
the house of the Grentmaisons during the summer 
months ; and in the winter it was closed and left 
under the care of a servant, who lived in one of the 
dependencies. How it had come to acquire the evil 
reputation of being haunted, or how long it was 
supposed to have been so, no one could tell, but that 
it was the resort of troubled spirits no one could 
doubt. Fearful noises were heard, and lights that 
could not be accounted for were seen in its deserted 
rooms during the long winter nights ; and belated 
wayfarers were affrighted by the apparition of a 
horrible beast, with large glaring eyes, and long 
shaggy hair trailing down to the ground, which took 
its nightly rambles round the ancient walls, and 
seemed to guard the house from intrusion.* 


The western coast of Guernsey, abounding in sunken 
reefs stretching far out to sea, and exposed to the 
full force of the Atlantic waves, was, before the 
establishment of a lighthouse on the Hanois rocks, 
most dangerous to shipping coming up Channel, and 
many a gallant vessel, with all its crew, has struck 
on some hidden danger and gone down in deep water, 
leaving no traces but what the waves might throw 
up some -days afterwards on the shore, in the form 

* From Mr. Denys Corbet, 


of detached portions of the wreck and cargo, or the 
dead bodies of the hapless mariners. 

The inhabitants of this inhospitable coast are a 
rugged race of hardy fishermen, for the most part 
experienced pilots, who know every rock for miles 
round, not one of which is without its distinguishing 
name. As might be expected, they are close observers 
of the weather, and of every sign that may indicate 
a coming storm. Those in the neighbourhood of 
L'Eree and Eocquaine declare that they are warned 
of an approaching tempest by a peculiar bright light 
which appears some time before in the south-west, 
and also by a loud roaring, like that of a large 
animal in great pain, which appears to proceed from 
a rock known by the name of "La Pendue." They 
do not attempt to account for this noise, but speak 
of it as " La Bete de la Pendue." * 

In the parish of St. Pierre-du-Bois, there is a 
house and estate known by the name of Le Laurier, 
where loaves are distributed to the poor on Christmas 
Eve and on Good Friday. Nothing certain is known 
of the origin of this dole, the title-deeds of the 
property merely containing the following item in the 
enumeration of the ground-rents due on it : " Aux 
Pauvres de la ditte Paroisse de Saint Pierre-du-Bois, 
un qiiartier de froment de rente, a etre distribue en 

* From Mrs. Savidan and Mrs. Sarre. 

According to Mr. Metivier there is also, in the neighbourhood of Lihou, a rock 
called " Sanbule," a very dangerous place for ships, and sailors say that 
underneath this rock can be plainly heard the bellowing of a bull. It is 
conjectured that the " bule " in the name of this cliff is from the English 
" bull " or the Swedish " bulla," and san, from the French saint, and 
that it points to some now-forgotten legend about a holy bull. See Clarke's 
Guernsey Magazine, September, 1880, 


pain aux dits pauvres, a deux diverses fois; savoir, 
deux boisseaux, partie du dit quartier a Noel, et les 
deux autres boisseaux a Pdques, comme d'anciennete." 

Tradition assigns two very different reasons for the 
institution of this charity, one of which is highly 
probable. It is that, at some remote period of which 
all memory is now lost, the house took fire, and the 
proprietor made a vow that if the fire could be 
extinguished he would charge his estate with an annual 
rent, to be given to the poor in bread. His prayer was 
answered, the fire yielding to the efforts of those who 
were attempting to put it out, as if by miracle, and 
the dole was instituted in conformity with the vow. 

The other tradition, which, as it falls into the 
domain of the supernatural is, of course, a greater 
favourite with the people, is to the following effect. 
In times past, long before the memory of the oldest 
inhabitants of the parish, the house, for some 
undefined reason, but connected, it is surmised, with 
some unknown crime of a former proprietor, was 
haunted from Christmas Eve to Easter by a hideous 
spectre in the form of a black beast like a calf, but 
as large as an ox. On Christmas Eve the inmates 
of the house were in the habit of leaving the front 
and back doors open, and at midnight precisely the 
spectre would pass through. 

At last, however, the proprietor of the estate 
bethought himself of calling in the aid of the clergy, 
in hopes that by their powerful help the visits of 
this unwelcome guest might be put an end to. Their 
prayers and exorcisms soon prevailed in quieting the 
phantom, and, by their advice, the annual distribution 
of the loaves to the poor was instituted. 

It is related, however, that on one occasion the 


the owner of the house, instigated by his wife, an 
avaricious, grasping creature, who would sooner have 
seen all the poor in the parish die of hunger than 
bestow a crust on them, withheld the accustomed 
dole. He paid dear for it, for the house was once 
more visited by the spectre, which this time made 
its appearance in the form of a gigantic black sow, 
accompanied by a numerous litter of pigs, all grunting 
and clamouring for food, as if they had not eaten for 
a week. The master of the house was fain to 
purchase peace by restoring to the poor their rights, 
but it is said that to her dying day his wife never 
recovered from the impression this supernatural visit 
made upon her. 

There is a tradition also that at one time a report 
having been spread abroad that the accustomed alms 
would no longer be distributed, the poor, who were 
in the habit of receiving it, assembled at night before 
the house, formed themselves into a procession, and 
marched through, entering by the front door, and 
passing out at the back. The mistress of the house 
was watching their proceedings from behind the door, 
and was seen by one of the poor women, who 
addressed her companion, walking by her side, in 
these words : 

" Et chette-chin, est-alle des ndtes ? " 

(And that woman there, is she one of us?) 
To which the following answer was returned : 

" Oh! Nennin ! quer sa liette nous I'y 6te." 
(Oh ! No ! for her snood proves it.) 

The "liette" was the riband or snood with which, 
in days gone by, the cap was fastened on the head, 
and was apparently a bit of finery quite beyond the 
reach of the poor who had assembled on this occasion, 


and only likely to be seen on the head-gear of a 
person in tolerably easy circumstances. * 


A number of young men had met together one 
evening in search of amusement. One of the party 
proposed going to a place at some distance, where 
they were likely to fall in with others as fond 
of fun as themselves, but, not choosing to fatigue 
themselves with walking, they determined on using 
some of their neighbours' horses. A good-looking 
white horse was grazing hard by in a meadow. One 
of the party approached, caught, and mounted him. 
Another got up behind, but still there seemed room 
for a third : at last, to shorten the story, the whole 
party, in number above a dozen, found accommodation 
on the horse's back, but, no sooner were they all well 
seated, than he set off at full gallop, and, after 
carrying them through brambles and briers, over 
hedges and ditches, to a considerable distance, 
deposited them all in the most muddy marsh he 
could find, and disappeared, leaving them to find 
their way home at midnight, in the best way they 
could, f 


One of the most interesting old mansions in 

* Partly from John de Garis, Esq., and partly from Mrs. Savidan. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * This story was also told to Miss Le Pelley by an old woman in St. Peter's 
in 1896. 

t From Rachel Du Port. 

See Keightley's Fairy A/ethology, Vol. II., p. 294. La Normandie Romanesque, 
p. 128. Folk-Lore Journal. Vol. L, p. 292. 


t In Notions Historiques sur les Cotes-du-Nord, by M. Habasque, there is mentioned a goblin 
called Mourioche, and it is said " Mourioche qui revet toutes les formes; Mourioche, la 


Guernsey is that of La Haye du Puits, in the parish 
of Le Castel, with its tower rising above the roof, its 
handsome " porte cochere " and its pepper box turrets. 
It has the appearance of having been built early in 
the sixteenth century, and it is known to have been, 
in the reign of Henry VIII., the residence of a family 
of considerable local antiquity and importance, of the 
name of Henry, who had also property in Salisbury, 
where they were known by the anglicised form of 
their patronymic, Harris. It passed from their pos- 
session into that of the Le Marchant family, to one 
of whom it still belongs, in the reign of James II.* 
It is just one of those sort of places that one might 
expect to find some legendary tale or old superstition 
attached to ; but we are not aware that either La 
Haye du Puits, or the neighbouring estate of St. 
George, claims any special property in the spectral 
appearance, which, from time to time, is seen at Le 
Mont au Deval a steep ascent over which the high 
road between the two properties passes. Persons 
travelling at night along this road, which in some 
parts is thickly overshadowed with trees, have 
occasionally met with a funeral procession, preceded, 
as is customary in Guernsey, by a clergyman and his 
attendant clerk, and composed of the usual carriers, 
pall bearers, mourners, and attendant friends. The 

monture du diable, qui vole avec la rapidite do 1'eclair, qui parsement des points lumineux, 
et qui s 1 allonge taut que I' on veut, assez du mot us pour porter quatre personnes. 

" Cinq jeunes filles partirent un soir pour aller chercher un des chevaux de la ferme qui 
etait dans la prairie. L'une d'elles monta sur le dos de la bete ; puis une seconde ; alors le 
cheval s'allongea, et il y eut place pour la troisieme, et les cinq filles finirent par s'asseoir 
sur son dos qui s'allongeait a mesure. La monture des filles se rait en marche, et quand elle 
fut arrivee au milieu du ruisseau, elle disparut comme si elle s'etait evanouie en fumee, et 
laissa les filles tomber dans 1'eau. Le vrai cheval etait deja rendu a la porte de son 
ecurie." Traditions et Superstitions de La Haute Bretagne, Tome II., p. 66. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * It was bought by Joshua Le Marchant from the heirs of Pierre Henry, 
June 3rd, 1674. 




cortege takes its mournful way in perfect silence and 
well it may for, of the many persons who compose 
it, not one is the bearer of a head ! 

There are those, it is said, who affirm to having 
met it, but it is looked upon as of evil augury. 
The death of some one in the neighbourhood, or of 
some member of the family of the person who has 
the misfortune to fall in with it, is believed to 
follow close upon the appearance of the headless 

* From Mr. Denys Corbet. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. In Mr. Paul Sebillot's Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute Bretagne, 
Tome I., p. 270, we meet with nearly the same superstition. " Un jour un homrae de la Ruee 
etait a dire ses prieres. II vit un enterrement qui passait a quelque distance de lui; un homme 
portait la croix, puis venait la chasse, les pretres et des horames. Huit jours apres, un homme 
qui etait ne a la Ruee mourut, et son enterrement cut lieu comme celui que 1'homme avait vu." 


There is a lane leading from the post-box at the " Carrefour David," on the Saints' Bay 
Road to " La Marette," at the Villette, which was formerly supposed to be haunted by a 
spectre in the form of an enormous nanny-goat. 

As you go along the lane to the Villette, you will see on your right hand side a triangular 
corner overgrown with weeds and brambles, and, although between two fields, not included in 
either. This corner is known as " Le Coin de la Biche " the Corner of the Nanny Goat. 

Tradition marks it as one of the proposed sites for St. Martin's Church, but, they say, 
when the building was commenced, materials, tools, etc., were moved by unknown hands, in 
the course of the night, to La Beilleuse, its present site, and all attempts to build it there 
had to be abandoned. Ever since then this corner has borne a bad reputation, and none of 
the neighbouring proprietors will include it in their fields for fear of ill-luck. 

One evening, towards the close of the last century, Mr. Mauger, of the Villette, and some 
other men, were returning home from vraiking at Saints' Bay. In those days, the road leading 
to the bay was a water-lane with a very narrow footway and a deep rocky channel, down 
which the water rushed to the sea. High hedges were on either side, bordered with trees, so 
that it was a laborious journey for carts to go up and down. When the present road was 
made, the trees were cut down, and the earth from the hedges used to fill up the waterway. 
Accordingly, this cart had harnessed to it three oxen and two horses, but even then 
progress was slow, and it was getting late as they turned into the lane. As they did so, one 
man said to the other : 

" Creyous que nous verrons la biche ?" 

(" Do you think we shall see the goat ? ") 

" Si nous la veyons alle nous f'ra pas d"ma." 

(" If we see her, she can do us no harm ! ") 

was the reply. Almost as he spoke out came a great hairy grey nanny-goat from her corner, 
and rested her forelegs against the back of the cart. The oxen tugged, the horses pulled, 
lashed on by the terrified men, who were longing to get out of the lane. But nothing could 
move the cart while the great beast stood there with her paws on the cart and looked at 



them. So they finally had to unharness the cattle, and lead them on to the Villette, and 
leave the cart with all the vraic in it in the lane. 

Next morning they brought one ox and one horse, who, " La Biche " being gone, easily 
pulled the cart home, this part of the country being on level ground. 

Another night, Mr. Mauger, of Saints', wanting to go and see his brother at the Villette, 
took the short cut, which is a tiny lane next to a little shop at the top of the Icart-road, 
and which comes out nearly opposite " Le Coin de la Biche." He was carrying a torch of 
" gllic " (glui * thick straw and resin), and felt that, thus armed, nothing could attack him. 
As he turned into the lane, he heard the clank of a chain, and, looking down, he saw a 
large brown beast about the size of a small calf, with enormous red eyes, which it kept fixed 
on him, walking by his side. He, hurried on, and tried by walking in the middle of the lane 
not to give it room to pass (the lane is barely three feet wide), but it was always there, on 
the footpath, keeping step with him. When he turned into the broader lane, where its own 
special "corner" is, it turned away, and he hurried on to the Villette. Determined not to 
give in to his cowardice, he came home the same way, and there where it had left him was 
the beast waiting for him. It walked with him, on his other hand this time, still keeping to 
the footpath, till he got into the Icart-road, where it disappeared. 

These stories were told me in 1896 by Mrs. Le Patourel, of St. Martin's, who was a Miss 
Mauger, of Saints', and she was told them by a relative of hers who was a daughter of the 
Mr. Mauger to whom these incidents happened. She declared that they were absolutely true. 

Our coachman, whose father lived in the neighbourhood at " Les Pages," just above Petit 
Bot, told me that his father would never let him go along that lane after dark, and would 
never go himself, for fear of " La Biche," and many other inhabitants of St. Martin's tell the 
same story. 

Another old man, belonging to one of the most respectable families in the parish, and who 
had himself been churchwarden for eleven years, told me that in his 5'outh he lived in the 
neighbourhood of the Villette, and one evening his sister, then a strong young girl of sixteen, 
rushed in saying she had seen " La Biche." The shock was so great that she took to her 
bed and died shortly afterwards. 

* These torches of " glui " were called " des Brandons."' 



"The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman." 


" Tis a history 

Handed from ages down ; a nurse's tale, 
Which children open-eyed and mouth'd devour, 
And thus, as garrulous ignorance relates, 
We learn it, and believe." 

AEIOUS allusions to his Satanic Majesty 
have already appeared in these pages. He 
has left his footprints on various rocks ; he 
away bodily Jean Vivian, Vavasseur de St. 
he fought with St. Patrick at the Hougue 
Patris ; and he enticed Duke Kichard in the form of 
a beautiful woman. He is of course head of the 
fraternity of wizards and witches, and many references 
to him occur in all the legends dealing with 
witchcraft, but there are a few stories dealing with 
him " in propria persona," and these are collected in 
the following chapter. 

It may be as well to state that his usual 
manifestation is believed to be in the form of a huge 
black cat. He takes this shape apparently when he 
wishes to pass incognito. Black cats in general are 
looked upon with a suspicious eye, but if seen in the 
house of anyone supposed to be addicted to magical 
arts, there is no doubt of their being imps of Satan. 



It was Midsummer Day, the sun was shining 
brightly, and the country people were hastening in 
their holiday apparel to the spot where the militia 
were ordered to muster for a review, when an 
unfortunate country girl was ordered by her master 
to weed a large field of parsnips. He promised her 
that when her task was accomplished she should be 
allowed the rest of the day to amuse herself ; but she 
soon discovered that this promise meant nothing, for 
that her utmost exertions would not suffice to finish 
the allotted work before the evening should close in. 
She CQmmenced her task with a heavy heart, and 
often lifted her head as she heard the joyous laugh 
of the groups of lads and lasses as they passed along 
the high road on their way to the place of 
rendezvous. One party followed another, and as they 
became less frequent, the poor girl lost patience. Her 
hopes of taking any share in the amusements of the 
day were nearly at an end. At last she gave 
utterance to her thoughts, and wished aloud for 
assistance, were it even from the Devil himself. 

Scarcely had she expressed this unhallowed wish, 
when she thought she heard a slight noise behind 
her, and, on looking round, saw a gentleman dressed 
entirely in black, who in the kindest manner imme- 
diately addressed her and enquired why she looked 
so sad, and how it was she was not merry-making 
with her companions. 

"Alas!" she answered, "I must weed the whole 
of this field before I am released." 

"Oh," said he, "is that all? Only promise me the 
first knot you tie to-morrow morning and I will get 
your task performed." 


The girl easily agreed to these terms, and the 
gentleman departed. 

She resumed her work, but was astonished to 
perceive that invisible hands were employed in every 
part of the field, tearing up the weeds and gathering 
them in bundles. In a very short time the ground 
was clear, and she went to announce it to her master, 
who, astonished at the rapidity with which she had 
executed his orders, gave her permission to spend the 
rest of the day in amusement. 

She went accordingly to the review, and from 
thence to the " Son," * where she danced the greater 
part of the evening. As night came on, however, she 
began to reflect on the adventures of the morning, 
and to consider that the assistance which she had 
accepted was most probably not of a very holy nature, 
and that something more might be meant by the 
promise which she had made than the mere words 
implied. She returned home and retired to her bed, 
but was unable to compose herself to sleep. The 
more she thought of what she had done the more 
uneasy did she feel. 

At last, in her perplexity, she resolved to rise 
immediately and seek advice from the Kector of the 
parish. The worthy clergyman was much alarmed at 
this open attack made by Satan on one of his flock, 
but bade her fear nothing, but put her trust in 
Heaven, go home, and spend the remainder of the 
night in prayer and repentance, and as soon as 
morning dawned, before she fastened a single knot, 
to go to the barn, taking her Bible with, her, and, 

* The old name for the village dances, generally held in some tavern to the 
sound of that obsolete instrument, the " chifournie." 

Q 2 


praying without ceasing, there bind up a sheaf of 
barley straw. 

The girl did as she was advised, and scarcely had 
she knotted the wisp of straw, when the gentleman 
in black stood at her side. His looks and voice were 
no longer so mild and prepossessing as they had been 
the day before, and the poor maiden, no longer 
doubting as to the infernal character of the stranger, 
was near fainting from fright. She was soon 
reassured, however, when she saw the good minister 
enter the barn, who, in God's name, bade Satan 
avaunt. The Devil was not proof against this solemn 
adjuration, but disappeared with a loud noise, and 
the poor girl, full of gratitude for her miraculous 
escape, made a solemn vow to avoid for the future 
all those places of resort and merry-makings, by 
which Satan endeavours to tempt the unwary into 
sin, and to live contentedly thenceforward in that 
station of life which Providence had allotted to her. * 


It is good to possess knowledge, but, like all other 
possessions, the benefit to be derived from it depends 
on the uses to which it is applied, and there is no 
doubt that it exposes the possessor to temptations 

* From Miss Louisa Lane. 

In the tales of this natnre related in Lower Brittany, the soul that is sold 
to the evil one is always rescued by the advice or intercession of a holy 
hermit or priest, see Luzel's Veillies Bretonnes, p. 132. 

"Quand.le diable parait, il cst generalement vetu de couleur sombre, et 
-souvent il ressemblerait exactemcr.t a une " maniere de monsieur" ou a un 
gros feimbr, si on ne regardait ses.pieds, dont Tun au moins est deforme et 
semblable & un rabjt de cheval. Paifois aussi il a des gants de cuir ou des 
grifies pcintu:s. On lui prtte aussi uft habillemcnt tout rouge, et le cheval 
qu'il monts est tout noir." Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute J3tetagne, 
Tome I., p. 1/9. 


which the more ignorant and simple-minded escape- 
to say nothing of the envy and calumny which often 
follow the man who by his superior acquirements, 
rises above the vulgar herd. 

In the past century, the parish of St. Michel du 
Valle was fortunate in having secured the services of 
a man of more than ordinary attainments as its 
schoolmaster. Pallot was no common character, and 
his studious and retiring habits were but little 
appreciated by the surrounding farmers. They 
wondered at his superior knowledge, but could not 
understand his shutting himself up in his schoolroom 
after the labours of the day were over. In their 
opinion it would have been far more wise and 
natural for him to follow the example of his scholars, 
and throw aside his books until the next day. It 
was known that his studies were often prolonged far 
into the night, and, little by little, it came to be 
whispered about that these studies were of a nature 
that could not bear the light of day, and, in short, 
that the schoolmaster was in league with the powers 
of darkness. Pallot felt hurt at the imputation, but 
at the . same time somewhat flattered at the deference 
paid him by his ignorant neighbours. 

" Knowledge puffeth up," and of all pride the 
pride of intellect is the most dangerous, and exposes 
the man who gives way to it to the greatest 
temptation. Satan knows well how to make use of 
the opportunities which are afforded him to extend 
his empire and work- the ruin of souls. The 
schoolmaster one whose influence over the youth of 
the parish w r as so great was a prize worth- securing, 
and the great enemy of mankind laid siege to him 
in due form. His approaches were made with skill, 



" Looking up Fountain Street, 1825." 


but with little or no success. At last he determined 
on a desperate expedient that of a personal interview. 
The conference lasted for some hours, the most 
tempting offers were made, but Pallot, now thoroughly 
on his guard, was firm, and had grace to resist. 
He had too much regard for his soul to yield in 
anything to the enemy, and Satan, out of patience, 
rushed out of the schoolroom, carrying off with him 
the gate of the inclosure, which was found next 
morning on a large hawthorn bush on the summit 
of the Hougue Juas. 

The thorn, which was previously green and 
flourishing, was blasted as if struck by lightning, and, 
although not killed, never recovered its former beauty, 
but retained for ever afterwards the same scathed 
and withered look. * 


It is related that in days long past there lived in 
the vicinity of the Eoque Balan, at L'Ancresse, a 
man of very superior acquirements. It is true that 
he was commonly suspected of knowing more than 
was altogether lawful, but as he . ostensibly gained his 
living by instructing the youth of the parish, and as 
there was no doubt that his scholars profited by his 
teaching, the neighbouring farmers made no hesitation 
in sending their sons to him. Among his pupils was 
one lad of whom he was justly proud, for a prying 
curiosity and love of acquiring knowledge, joined to 
a retentive memory and a sharp intellect, had made 
the boy, in the opinion of many, almost a match for 
his master. Curiosity and a love of acquiring 

* From Miss Harriet Chepmell. 


knowledge may be good in themselves, but they can 
be carried too far, and this proved to be the case 
with the young scholar. 

He had noticed some old-looking tomes which his 
preceptor kept always carefully locked up in an old 
carved oak chest, and had long felt most anxious to 
pry into their contents. The clearest hints he could 
give, and even the openly - expressed wish to be 
allowed to peruse the hidden volumes, met with no 
response on the part of his teacher. He determined 
to watch his opportunity, and to get a sight, by hook 
or by crook, of the contents of the mysterious books, 
and one day, when the master had been called away 
suddenly to make the will of a dying man, and had 
inadvertently left his keys behind him, the youth 
seized on them, and, as soon as his back was turned, 
proceeded to examine the contents of the chest. He 
lifted one of the ponderous tomes, opened it at 
hazard, and commenced to read out aloud the first 
passage which met his eye. Unfortunately this 
proved to be the spell by which the Prince of 
Darkness can be summoned to this upper world to 
do the bidding of his votaries. Great was the terror 
of the indiscreet youngster when a sudden violent 
storm arose, which went on increasing in intensity, 
and Satan in person appeared before him and 
demanded what he wanted of him. The unfortunate 
boy knew not what answer to make, nor what task 
to impose on the demon to get rid of him at least 
for a time, until the return of the master. Pallet, 
who was already at some distance from home, 
hastened back, and entered the house just at the 
moment when Satan, tired of waiting and enraged 
a,t having been unnecessarily called up, had seized on 


the inquisitive scholar and was on the point of 
flying off with him. The master, at a glance, 
perceived how matters stood, and, uttering a hasty 
spell, arrested the demon in his course. He then 
proceeded to set him a task, promising him that if 
he succeeded in accomplishing it before sunset he 
should be at liberty to carry off his prey. 

The Devil made some difficulty in acceding to these 
terms, but the schoolmaster, determined, if possible, 
to save his unfortunate pupil, was firm, and not to 
be influenced either by the threats or cajoleries of 
the arch-fiend. He caught up a peck-measure 
containing peas, and scattered them on the floor, 
handing at the same time a three-pronged pitch-fork 
to the Devil, and ordering him with that instrument 
to throw the peas over the door-hatch into the 

Satan took the fork and set to work with right 
good will, but soon found that it was labour in 
vain. Not one pea could he raise from the floor. 
The sun was fast sinking below the horizon. As 
the last portion of its orb disappeared beneath the 
western wave, the enraged and disappointed demon 
wrenched the door-hatch off its hinges and cast it 
far away in the direction of Les Landes. There it 
was found the next morning on a thorn-bush, 
which had been green and flourishing the day before, 
but which, since that time, is blasted and flattened 
almost to the level of the ground, though it still 
lives and is pointed out as a proof of the truth of 
this history.* 

* From Sieur Henry Bisson. 

This incident is found in a Breton legend, as told by Dr. Alfred Fouquet 
in his work Legendes, Conies, et Chansons Populaires du Morbihan, apropos 



The race of journeymen tailors and shoemakers, 
hired by the day to make up, at the houses of their 
employers, the materials that have been provided 
beforehand, or to patch and mend the clothes and 
shoes requiring repairs, is not yet quite extinct in 
the rural districts of Guernsey ; although the facility 
of access to the town of St. Peter Port, afforded by 
the excellent roads which intersect the island in all 
directions, and the superior make and fashion of the 
articles supplied by the tradesmen in town, to say 
nothing of the ready-made clothing so generally used 
in the present day have had the effect of consider- 
ably diminishing the number of men who gain 

of the first occupant of the lands on which the Chateau de Herlean was 
afterwards built. Satan undertook to be the servant of a peasant as long as 
work could be found for him to do. He accomplished the most difficult 
tasks with the greatest ease. At last the peasant emptied a sack of millet 
into the court-yard and ordered Satan to pitch it up to him in the granary 
with a hay-fork. He acknowledged his inability and was ignominiously 

A somewhat similar story is also told in Notes and Queries. The Vicar of 
a certain Devonshire parish was a diligent student of the black art, and 
possessed a large collection of mysterious books and MSS. During his 
absence at church, one of his servants entered his study, and, finding a large 
volume open on the desk, imprudently began to read it aloud. He had 
scarcely read half a page when the sky became dark and a great wind shook 
the house violently. Still he read on, and in the midst of the storm the doors 
flew open and a black hen and chickens came into the room. They were 
of the ordinary size when they first appeared, but gradually became larger 
and larger, until the hen was of the bigness of a good-size ox. At this 
point, the Vicar (in the church) suddenly closed his discourse and dismissed 
his congregation, saying he was wanted at home and hoped he might arrive 
there in time. When he entered the chamber, the hen was already touching 
the ceiling. But he threw down a bag of rice which stood ready in the 
corner, and, whilst the hen and chickens were busily picking up the grains, 

the Vicar had time to reverse the spell. 

EDITOR'S Note. This story is still believed. It was told me by Miss Falla in 1896. 


their living in this way. Although we have no 
knowledge that the journeyman tailor was ever the 
important character here that he is in Brittany and 
even in Normandy, where he is sometimes employed 
in the delicate office of negotiating marriages between 
the families of distant hamlets, and where he is 
often the sole means of circulating the news of the 
outer world, or carrying the gossiping tales of one 
village to another, yet even here his presence for 
a day or two in a house is looked forward to with 
pleasure as a break in the monotony of the daily 
family routine ; and if he should chance to be what 
the French call " un farceur," or teller of good 
stories, he is doubly welcome. 

It must be acknowledged that, as a rule, this class 
of men are not supposed to be very particular as to 
the exact truth of the stories they put in circulation, 
and that some of them would be better members of 
society, if, on quitting their work, they were to go 
straight home, without thinking it a part of their 
duty to turn into every house where drink is sold, 
that they may chance to fall in with on their way. 

The hero of the following adventure, if fame does 
not belie him, is one of this sort, and, although he 
affirms the truth of the story, there is no corroborative 
evidence that it is anything more than the dream of 
a drunken man. 

It appeared in a letter from a correspondent to 
the Gazette de Guernesey of the 22nd December, 
1873, and is translated literally, omitting only the 
writer's sensible remarks on the folly and simplicity 
of those who could give credence to such an 
invention, and on the superstition which, in spite of 
education, is still so prevalent among the lower 


orders. There is no doubt that the story was widely 
spread and believed in the country, and that the 
tailor, when questioned about it, asserts it to be true. 

He is an inhabitant of the parish of Torteval, and 
a Guernseyman born and bred, although bearing a 
name which shews that his family came originally 
from another country. One evening, as he was 
returning from his work, a certain tailor, who shall 
be nameless, and who bears but an indifferent 
character, met with an adventure which was far 
from being agreeable. A man, dressed entirely in 
black, of a sinister aspect, and mounted on a black 
horse, met him on his way. This strange looking 
individual stopped the tailor, and the following 
conversation took place : 

" Hallo, you're a tailor, aren't you ? ' 

"Yes, sir, at your service," answered the tailor, 
somewhat alarmed. 

" Then I wish you to make me a pair of 
trousers, which I will come and fetch at your house 
to-morrow at noon." And, so saying, the stranger 
went on his way. 

" But, sir," cried the tailor, running after him, 
' You've forgotten to let me take your measure." 

" Bah ! what does that matter ? ' 

" But, sir, I shall never be able to fit you if 
I've not got your measure." 

" Well then, take it," said the gentleman in black, 
dismounting from his horse. " There ! ' 

But imagine the poor tailor's dismay ! There were 
no legs to be seen. Do what he would, it was 
impossible to take a proper measure for trousers 
under such circumstances. A horrible suspicion 
flashed through his mind, 


" It must be the Devil," thought he to himself. 
" How shall I get rid of him ? " 

Alarmed, horrified, trembling in all his limbs, 
feeling his legs giving way under him, our poor 
tailor only got out of the scrape by stammering out 
these few words 

" Well, sir, your trousers shall be ready to-morrow 
at noon." 

" Look to yourself if they are not ready. I shall 
come and fetch them at your house," answered the 
dark-visaged and black-coated individual, leaping on 
his horse and going on his way. 

Seized with uncontrollable fear, it is said that the 
tailor went straight to the Eector of his parish, and 
told him the whole of his adventure. The good 
parson advised him to make the trousers, and 
promised him that he would not fail to be with 
him the next day to be witness to the delivery of 
them. Accordingly, the next day, at the hour 
appointed, and, but a few minutes after the arrival 
of the clergyman, who was beforehand with him, 
the Devil knocked at the tailor's door to claim the 
trousers ; and the hero of our tale, in delivering 
them, heard his Satanic Majesty utter these words 

" If a man of God had not been present in this 
house, I would have carried you off also." 


Whatever may be the spread of rationalism in 
other places, a belief in the personality of Satan 
still holds its ground firmly in the minds of our 
peasantry. How can it be otherwise when there are 
those who, within the last two or three years, have 
had the rare chance of seeing him "in propria 


persona ; " and this in a locality which, one might 
suppose, would be about the very last that he would 
be inclined to honour with his presence ? The neigh- 
bourhood of L'Eree, it is true, has never borne a 
very high character. Everyone knows that from time 
immemorial the hill of Catiauroc and the beach of 
Rocquaine have been the favourite resort of witches 
and warlocks, and that their infernal master holds 
his court there every Friday night, and, seated in 
state on the cromlech which is called "Le Trepied," 
receives the homage of his deluded votaries. But 
who could suppose that he would leave this time- 
honoured haunt to become the inmate of a Methodist 
Chapel? Such, however, if we can attach any credit 
to the statements of the fishermen and others who 
inhabit this coast, is undoubtedly the case. 

Within the last few years the Wesleyans have 
erected several small chapels in various parts of the 
island, and, among others, one near a place called 
" Les Adams." Shortly after the chapel was finished 
it began to be whispered about that lights were seen 
in it at hours of the night when it was well known 
that no one was likely to be there. The light is 
described by some who had seen it from a distance 
as if illuminating the whole of the interior, but some 
fishermen who were bold enough to draw near and 
look in at the windows could see nothing but a 
small subdued flame in one corner, which seemed to 
sink downwards into the earth. A gentleman of strict 
veracity, formerly residing about a mile from the 
spot, declared that he had frequently seen the 
mysterious light. He described it as being of a pale 
blue colour, and was convinced that it did not 
proceed from either candle or lamp. He had seen it 

TtiE DEVlL. 


" Looking down Berthelot Street, 1880." 


from various points, from the rising ground inland, 
to the east of the chapel, and from the low lands 
lying along the sea-shore to the west. It seemed to 
occupy a particular spot in the building, for the 
light appeared brightest through one of the windows, 
and fainter through all the others. He had observed 
it on many occasions immediately after dusk, and at 
hours when it was most unlikely that any person 
would be in the chapel for any improper purpose. On 
drawing near, the light always disappeared. The 
state of the weather or of the moon seemed to 
make no difference in it. Curiosity, thus excited, had 
to be appeased, and, at last, some of the fishermen 
ventured to approach the chapel and peep in at the 
windows. What they saw they described as " Le 
Dain," the name by which his Satanic Majesty is 
designated when it is thought proper to avoid the 
more offensive appellation of " Le Guyablle." Sparks 
of fire issued from his mouth and nostrils, the 
traditional horns and tail seem to have been 
discerned, but the cloven feet were hidden by long 
boots covering the knees, and which, according to 
some accounts, were red. 

His occupation was as difficult to be accounted for 
as his presence in so unusual a place. It was that 
of dancing and leaping with all his might and main ! 
Whether the fishermen really saw anything which 
their fears magnified into a vision of the wicked 
one, or whether, for reasons of their own, they 
wished to impose upon the credulity of their 
neighbours, it' is impossible to say. One thing is 
certain, and that is that persons of the highest 
respectability, living in that part of the country, 
vouch for the fact of the lights having frequently 


been seen in the chapel at hours of the night 
when it ought not to have been occupied. It does 
not seem to have occurred to them that many of 
the mariners on this part of the coast are employed 
at times in carrying off packages of tobacco to the 
English and French boats engaged in smuggling, and 
that, as a temporary depot may be sometimes required 
for these goods, the chapel may have been selected 
for the purpose, in preference to a dwelling house 
or other private property, the owner of which, in 
case of detection, might be subjected to much 
inconvenience. But the neighbouring peasants have 
their own method of explaining these supernatural 

Some say that they are a judgment on the original 
founders of the chapel, who, as it is believed and 
reported, after having collected ample subscriptions 
towards the building, pretended that the funds were 
insufficient, and defrauded the workmen whom they 
had employed of their just dues. Others say that 
the original proprietor of the land on which the 
chapel is built, was importuned by his wife to make 
a free gift of the site, but, being strongly averse to 
dissent in all forms, could never be brought by her 
to consent to the alienation ; but that immediately 
on the death of the old man, the widow, who, after 
a youth spent in frivolity and pleasure, had turned 
wonderfully pious in her declining years, took measures 
to make over the ground to the dissenters, and, not 
content with this, squandered on them large sums of 
money which ought rightly to have been reserved 
for her late husband's children by a former marriage. 
The spirit of the departed could not brook such 
disregard of his wishes, and such disrespect for his 




memory, and manifests his displeasure by haunting 
the spot of which his children ought never to have 
been deprived. 

EDITOR'S NOTK. When in Sark in 1896 I was told by one of the old Sark men, how a 
Sark fisherman defeated the Devil. This fisherman was supposed to be given to witchcraft, 
and one day he succeeded in raising the Devil, when Satan appeared and asked him what 
commands he had for him. The fisherman had nothing to say. Finally he said, " You must 
carry me where I toll you." They were then on the far end of Little Sark. So the Devil 
consented, but on the understanding that when they reached their destination, the man, in 
his turn, should do what Satan commanded. So the man mounted on Satan's back, and first 
was carried across the Coupee. " Allcz plus loin," (Go farther) said the man. Then they went 
on to the Carrefour, near where the Bel Air Hotel now is. " Allez plus loin" said the man 
when Satan stopped for a rest. Then they reached the Port du Moulin, where the fisherman's 
cottage stood. "An nom du Grand Dieu Arretez!" (In God's name Stop!) At that the 
Devil had to put him down and fly away shrieking, "for," as the old man concluded his 
story, " he is powerless when God's name is said." 


arnings antr 

Now there spreaden a rumour that everich night 
The rooms ihaunted been by many a Sprite, 
The Miller avoucheth, and all thereabout 
That they full oft hearen the Hellish Rout, 
Some faine they hear the gingling of Chains, 
And some hath heard the Psautries straines, 
At midnight some the headless Horse i meet, 
And some espien a Corse in a white Sheet; 
And other things, Faye, Elfin and Elfe, 
And shapes that Fear createn to itself." 


Et chacun croit fort aisement ce qu'il craint." 

La Fontaine. 

Now I remember those old women's words 
Who in my youth would tell me winter's tales 
And speak of sprites and ghosts that glide by night 
About the place where treasure hath been hid." 

J/ar/tnt'e'!, " Jew of Venice. 

" These true shadows .... 
Forerunning thus their bodies, may approve 
That all things to be done, as here we live, 
Are done before all times in th'other life." 


T is a very common belief that events, 
particularly those of a melancholy nature, 
are foreshadowed. Unusual noises in or 
about a house, such as cannot easily be accounted 

B 2 


for, the howling of a dog, the crowing of cocks at 
unaccustomed hours, the hooting of owls, and many 
other things are looked upon as warnings of evil to 
come, or, as they are locally termed, " avertissements" 
This term is also applied to a sort of second-sight, 
in which a person fancies he sees an image of 
himself, or, to make use. of a Scotch word, his own 
" wraith." This illusion, arising no doubt from a 
derangement of the optic nerve consequent on the 
weakness produced by ill-health, is considered a sure 
forerunner of death. Two instances of this, both 
occurring towards the end of the last century, have 
come to my knowledge. In the one case, a young 
gentleman, slowly dying of decline, was seated near 
a window, which commanded a view of the avenue 
leading to the country house in which he resided. 
Suddenly he saw a figure, which he recognised as his 
own, standing at the corner of a pathway which led 
into a cherry-orchard, a favourite resort of his when 
in health. His sister was every moment expected to 
return home from a ride, and, fearing that her horse 
might take fright at the apparition, he immediately 
dispatched a servant to meet her, and cause her to 
return to the house by another way. He died not 
many hours afterwards. 

In the other instance, a young lady, who was 
known to be very fragile and delicate, was spending 
the day at her brother's country-house. It was 
summer, and the room in which she was seated 
with the other members of the family looked out on 
a parterre gay with flowers. Suddenly she interrupted 
the conversation which was going on, by exclaiming: 

" How singular ! I see myself yonder in the garden 
gathering flowers." 


Her friends tried to laugh her out of her fancy, 
but neither ridicule nor reason prevailed. She persisted 
in saying that she had seen her own likeness in the 
garden. She grew rapidly worse, and before the 
autumn was over she passed away. 

It occasionally happens that both fruit and blossoms 
are to be seen at the same time on apple and pear 
trees. When this occurs it is believed to be a sure 
presage that a death will follow in the family of the 
proprietor of the tree within the year. * 

Great faith is also put in dreams by our country 
people, as the following stories will show. They make 
use of many charms, and spells to invoke certain 
dreams, and those will be told in a future chapter, 
but the following show the belief that exists in the 
truth of dreams. 

During the late war with France many privateers 
were fitted out. A man dreamt that if a vessel were 
sent out to a certain latitude and longitude, that on 
a certain day it would meet with a rich prize and 
take it. He realised all his property, bought a ship, 
equipped and manned it, and sent it out to cruise, in 
full faith that his dream, would come to pass. Time 
rolled on, and the ship did not appear. The man's 
friends and neighbours began to jeer at him, but he 
still felt confident that all would turn out as he had 
dreamt. His faith was at last rewarded, for one day, 
when all but he had given up any hope of seeing 
the vessel again, two vessels were seen in the offing. 
As they drew near one was recognised as the 
missing ship, and the other was soon made out, by 

* From Mr. Thomas Lenfestey and Mr. George Allez. 
See Notes and Queries, VI. Series, IV., J. 




its rig, to be a foreigner. They came safely into St. 
Peter Port, and it was then found that the latter 
was a Spaniard, with a very rich cargo. It turned 
out that the capture had been made in the very 
place and at the very time that had been dreamt of. 
A country gentleman had occasion to make some 
alterations in the level of a road in the neighbourhood 
of his house. He employed two men in the w r ork, a 
father and son. The materials for the work were 
to be taken from a gravel pit on the estate, and the 
work W 7 as progressing favourably, when, one morning, 
the gentleman, on coming down to breakfast, said to 
his wife that he had had an unpleasant dream, and 
feared that some accident would happen to the 
workmen before the day was out. He went out 
shortly afterwards and cautioned the men, as he had 
done previously, to be very careful in digging out the 
materials they were in want of from the overhanging 
banks of the gravel pit. They made light of his 
admonition, and he left them. Towards noon the 
elder of the two workmen left the place to go home 
to dinner, leaving his son behind. On his return, 
about an hour later, he found that the bank had 
given way and buried his son in the rubbish. When, 
after a considerable time, he was dug out, he was 
found to be quite dead. 


" That the dead are seen no more, I will not undertake to maintain against the concurrent and 
unvaried testimony of all ages and of all nations. There is no people, rude or unlearned, among 
whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, which prevails as far 
as human nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth. Those who never heard 
of another, would not have agreed in a tale which nothing but experience can make credible. 
That it is doubted by single cavillers can very little weaken the general evidence, and some who 
deny it with their tongues confess it with their fears." 

Dr. Samuel Johnson. 

The belief that the spirits of the dead are, under 
certain circumstances, permitted to revisit the places 
which they were in the habit of frequenting, and the 
persons with whom they were acquainted while in 
the body, has too strong a hold on the human mind 
not to be still an article of popular faith in this 
island ; but the doings of these disembodied spirits do 
not differ sensibly from what is attributed to them 
in other European countries. 

The ghost of the murdered man still haunts the 
spot where he was foully deprived of life, crying for 
vengeance on his assassin. The murderer's form is 
seen at the foot of the gibbet where he expiated his 
crime. The shade of the suicide lingers about the 
spot where he committed his rash act. The spirit of 
the tender mother is seen bending over the cradles of 
her darling children, smoothing their tangled locks, 
washing their begrimed faces, and lamenting over the 
neglected state in which they are allowed to remain 
by a careless or unkind step-dame. The acquirer of 
ill-gotten wealth wanders about, vainly endeavouring to 
make restitution. And the ghosts of the shipwrecked 
mariners who have perished in the waves, roam along 
the fatal shore, and, with loud wailings, claim a 
resting place for their remains in their mother-earth. 

Some also say that the departing spirit occasionally 


takes the form of a bird, and, from a story told us, 
it would seem that it also sometimes puts on the 
form of a mouse. 

An elderly woman who lived alone in a house in 
the neighbourhood of Ste. Helene was found one 
morning dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. 
From the evidence at the inquest it appeared that 
she had entrusted the latch key of the front door 
to a workman, who was to come early to the house 
next morning to do some small job in the way of 
plastering. It was supposed that before retiring to 
rest, at her usual hour between nine and ten, she 
had intended to go to the door to see whether the 
door was properly latched, and that, in descending 
the stairs, she had slipped, and, falling forward, had 
broken her neck. 

She had a first cousin, within a week or two of 
the same age as herself, with whom she had been 
brought up, and between whom and herself great 
affection had always existed. About the time that 
the accident must have happened, this cousin was 
sitting with his wife, by whom the story was related 
to me, warming themselves before the fire, previously 
to getting into bed. They were speaking of the old 
woman, and the husband remarked that he had not 
seen her for some days, and hoped she was well, 
and then immediately made the remark that he had 
seen a mouse run across the room, coming from the 
door towards them. His eyesight was very defective, 
and his wife endeavoured to persuade him that it 
was impossible that he could have seen anything of 
the kind, and that, moreover, she had never seen a 
mouse in that room. 

They went to bed and nothing more was thought 


about it until the next morning, when the wife, passing 
the house where the old woman lived, saw a crowd of 
neighbours assembled round the door, and found that 
the dead body of her husband's cousin had just been 
discovered lying at the foot of the stairs. 

The accident in all probability had occurred at the 
very time she and her husband were speaking of the 
deceased, and when the old man declared he saw the 
mouse. She was fully convinced that the spirit of 
the old woman had come in that shape to take a 
last look and farewell of her kinsman.* 


It is not many years since, that in making some 
alterations in the parsonage of St. Michel du Yalle, 
the workmen found under the flooring of one of the 
rooms a few small coins. They remembered that in 
the last century, a French priest, who had renounced 
his own religion, had been appointed curate of the 
parish by a non-resident Bee tor after having been 
duly licensed by the Bishop of Winchester ; that, after 
leading a most irregular life to the great scandal of 
the parishioners, he had one day disappeared suddenly, 
and that after his departure the poor box in the 
church was found to have been broken open and 
robbed of its contents. It was not long before it was 
rumoured abroad that mysterious noises were heard 
in the dead of the night in the parsonage, as of 
someone walking through the rooms and dropping 
money as he went. No one doubted that the 
sacrilegious robber had left this mortal life, and that 

* Related to me by Mrs. Andrew Thorn, wife of the old man. 
" In many Teutonic myths, we find that the soul leaves the body in the 
shape of a mouse," Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. II,, Part VII., p. 208, 


his ghost was doomed to revisit the scene of his 
iniquity, vainly endeavouring to make restitution to 
the widows and orphans, and to the aged and infirm 
pensioners of the church, of the money of which he 
had so unfeelingly deprived them. 

The workmen were fully convinced that the coins 
which they had found were part of those which had 
been so sacrilegiously abstracted. They dared not 
retain them for their own use, but brought them to 
the Bee tor with a request that they might be given 
to the poor.* 


In all ages and among all nations the burial of 
the- dead has been looked upon as a sacred duty ; 
and the belief is not yet extinct that until the body 
is consigned to the earuh the spirit is doomed to 
wander about, seeking rest and finding none. 

Great therefore is the guilt of him who, having 
found a corpse, neglects to provide for its sepulture. 
" Les morts recllament la terre, et ch'est lea derouait." 
(The dead claim the earth, and it is their righb). 

A man who had gone down at low water to visit 
his nets, found a dead body stretched out 0:1 the 
sands. It was not that of any of his neighbanrs. 
A violent storm had raged a day or two previously, 
and there could be no doubt that some unfortunate 
vessel had gone down in the gale, and that the body 
before him was that of one of the crew. It was 
handsomely dressed, the clothes being of velvet, richly 
laced wiirh gold. The avarice of the fisherman was 
excited, and his first thought was to search the 
pockets. A purse, containing w T hat to a poor man 

* From Mrs. Thomas Bell, wife of the Rector of the Vale parish. 


was a considerable sum, was found, and, content with 
his morning's work, the man hastened home, leaving 
the body to be carried away by the next tide. Great 
was his astonishment and affright, on entering his 
cottage, to see the dead man seated by the fireside, 
and looking sternly and reproachfully at him. His 
wife, to whom the phantom was not visible, 
perceived his trouble, and, pressed by her, he confessed 
what he had done. She upbraided him with his 
inhuman conduct, and, kneeling down with him, 
prayed the Almighty to forgive him his sin. They 
then hastened down to the beach, drew the corpse 
to shore, and buried it in a neighbouring field. On 
their return home the ghost of the drowned man 
had disappeared and was never more seen.* 


" Qu'est qu'tu 'as? Now dirait qu'tu 'as veu la 
grand' ga.rce." ("What is the matter with you? 
One would suppose you had seen the great girl.") 

Such were the words with which a gentleman 
(Mr. Peter Le Pelley, Seigneur of Sark), in the last 
century greeted his sister-in-law, (Miss Frances 
Carey, daughter of Mr. John Carey), who had come to 
spend a few days with him at his manorial residence 
in Sark, on her appearance at the breakfast table the 
morning after her arrival. He meant to banter her on 
her anxious and haggard look, which she attributed 
to a restless night and headache, occasioned in all 
probability by crossing the water on the previous day. 

* From Mrs. Savidan. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. An old fisherman named Mansell told Major Macleane, my informant, 
that it is most unlucky to keep a suit of clothes belonging- to a drowned man, whether they 
have been washed ashore, or by whatever means they have entered your possession ; for his 
spirit is sure to come back and reanimate his clothes and haunt you. The cjpthes should 
always be burnt or buried immediately. 


In reality, although she did not like to acknowledge 
it at the time, her rest had been disturbed. Having 
previously locked her door, as was her habit, she had 
fallen asleep almost as soon as she laid her head 
on the pillow, but was awakened suddenly, about 
midnight, as far as she could judge, by someone 
drawing aside the curtains at the foot of her bed. She 
started up, and saw plainly an elderly lady standing 
there. She fell back fainting, and when she recovered 
her senses the figure had disappeared. 

It was probably nothing more than a very vivid 
nightmare, and was followed by n results beyond 
the effects of the fright which a few days sufficed 
to remove, but she never again revisited Sark. The 
question, however, is one which is not unfrequently 
addressed to a person who has an anxious or startled 
look, and refers to the apparition of a tall maiden, 
which is supposed to presage the death of the person 
who sees it, or that of some near connection.* 

* From Rachel du Port, who was formerly a servant of Mr. John Carey, 
and heard it from Miss Fanny Carey herself. 


My cousin, Miss E. Le Pelley, whose great -uncle Peter was Seigneur of Sark, and whose old 
servant Caroline is still alive and in the service of the Le Pelley family, sends me the 
following confirmation of the above, which she wrote down from the lips of old Caroline 
herself. Caroline, as a girl, had one day been leased by some of her fellow servants on the 
Seigneurie farm, who told her that they would come in and awake her during the night. So 
she, to prevent such disturbance, locked her door. In the middle of the night she awoke and 
saw a lady standing at the foot of her bed. She was so frightened that she shut her eyes, but 
twice curiosity prevailed and she opened them again, and saw the lady gliding away. She had on 
a crossover shawl, and a beautifully gauffred white cap. Caroline was just going to look again, 
when she felt something heavy fall on her feet " with a great thump," which so frightened 
her that she put her head under the clothes, and did not uncover it until the morning, 
though she could not sleep again. The lady is supposed to be a Miss de Carteret, sister 
of one of the original Seigneurs of Sark. She had unaccountably disappeared from that room, 
which was the last spot in which she had been seen. 

Old Caroline went on to say that many others besides herself had seen the ghost. Fifty 
years previously, an old woman living at Havre Gosselin had been terrified by it. The cook, 
who was fellow-servant with Caroline, had seen it three times. 

Henri, an old man-servant, had also often seen it. But the curious thing about the ghost is 
that it only appears in the room if the door is locked. 

Caroline was very anxious to tell her mistress, Mrs. Le Pelley, what she had seen, but the 
other servants dissuaded her, and told her that she had brought it all on herself by locking 
her door, which she never again dared to do. 

"Now," said Caroline, "if only someone had said to her 'In the name of the Great God 



There is an English saying that " when the gorse 
'is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion." This is 
expanded in Guernsey into the following tales. 

A man, who had been long suffering from a 
lingering illness, was at last lying on his death-bed. 
His wife was unremitting in her attentions, and 
profuse in her expressions of sorrow at the thoughts 
of losing him. He did not doubt her affection for 
him, but ventured to hint at the probability of her 
looking out for a second husband before the first 
year of her widowhood should be expired. She 
warmly repudiated the bare possibility of such a 
thought entering her mind, and was ready to make 
a vow that she would never again enter into the 
married state. 

"Well," said the man mildly, "I ask no more 
than that you should promise me not to wed again 
while any blossom can be found on the furze." 

She gladly made promise. The man died, but it 

what tortures you ? ' the poor lady would have unburdened her soul, and her spirit could have 
found rest, but no one had the wit or the courage to do it." 

As Caroline always ends up her story : " Oh man Dou done, que j'tai effr&'ic ! " (Oh my 
goodness, how frightened I was!). from Afiss E. Le Pelley. 

Old Mrs. Le Messurier, who used frequently to go in and "help" at the Seigneurie when 
the Le Pelleys were there, told me that she was there in February, 1839, the time that Peter 
Le Pelley was drowned, and the night before "La Grande Garce " was seen walking, through 
the passages, and the tapping of her high heels was heard through the house, while some 
said she was wringing her hands. Knowing that her appearance in this manner was a sure 
presage of misfortune, the servants all begged Mr. Le Pelley next day not to set sail for 
Guernsey, especially as there was a strong south wind blowing, but he would go, and the 
boat was swamped off the Pointc du Nez, and all perished. From Mrs. Le Messurier, of Sark. 

Mr. de Garis, of the Rouvets, told me that he had an old sen-ant who came from Sark, 
who told him of a lady who appeared at the Seigneurie, if the bedroom door was locked. 

In 1565 Queen Elizabeth " conferred on Holier de Carteret and his heirs for ever, in 
reward of the many services received by herself and her royal ancestors from this family, the 
aforesaid island of Sark, to be held in capite, as a fief haubert, on the payment of an 
annual rent of fifty shillings." Sir Charles do Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen, and of Sark, 
being heavily in debt, made a provision in his will for the settling of his debts by ordering 
that at his death the Seigneurie of Sark should be sold. This will bears the date of 1713. During 
his lifetime he obtained a patent from Queen Anne authorising the above sale. And in 1730 
it was bought by Dame Susan Le Gros, widow of Mr. Nicholas Le Pelley. Her son Nicholas 
inherited it, and it remained in the Le Pelleys' possession until 1852, when, owing to heavy- 
losses incurred in the working of the silver mines in Little Sark, they sold it to Mrs. T. G. 
Collings, and it is now in the possession of the Collings family. 




" Harbour, showing entrance to Cow Lane." 


is affirmed that the disconsolate widow, at the end 
of twelve months, had discovered by close observation, 
and to her great disappointment, that she had made 
a rash promise, and that there was not a day in the 
whole year when flowers might not be found on the 
prickly gorse. 

* Other Editor's notes on this subject will be found in Appendix A. 

In the Castel parish they tell another story based on the same proverb. Here is a house called 
Les Mourains, in that parish, belonging to the Ozannes. In the middle of the last century, 
a Mr. Ozanne married a young wife, who died after having given birth to two sons. On her 
death-bed she made her husband promise that he would never marry, " lorsqu'il y avait des 
filieurs sur F Jan." He promised, but after her death he married again. 

But the poor spirit had not found rest. The nurse, while she dressed and undressed the 
children, frequently saw her late mistress watching her. The other servants, when in the 
evenings they stood at the back door talking to their friends and acquaintances, heard the 
rustling of her silk dress along the passages. 

And she so habitually haunted the drawing room that for years it had to be kept locked 
up, and finally the Rector of the parish had to be sent for, to lay the ghost, which he did, 
and it was boarded up in a cupboard. The place may be conjectured, for in the drawing 
room there is still a part boarded up, and at times strange noises are heard, as of a spirit 
ill at rest.* 

* From Miss E. Le Pelley. 



: Had learned the art that none may name 
In Padua far beyond the sea." 

'' Tarn saw an unco sight ! 

Warlocks and witches in a dance ; 
Nae cotillon brent new frae France, 
l>ut horn pipes, gigs, strathspeys, and reels, 
Put life and mettle in their heels : 

There sat auld Kick, in shape o' beast ; 

A towz : e tyke, black, grim, and large, 
To gie them music was his charge." 

Tarn O'Shaiitei; Burns. 

" Wise judges have prescribed that men may not rashly believe the confessions of witches, 
nor the evidence against them. For the witches themselves are imaginative, and people arc 
credulous, and ready to impute accidents to witchcraft." Bacon. 

|HE belief in witchcraft dates from so very 
remote a period, it is so universally spread 
throughout all the various races that 
compose the human family, that it is not to be 
wondered at if it still retains its hold among the 
ignorant and semi-educated, especially when we find, 
even in the present day, that persons, who ought by 
their superior instruction, and by the position they 
hold in society, to be above such superstitions, are 
nevertheless, firm believers in judicial astrology, 
fortune telling, spiritualism, and other similar delusions. 
Although it is now but very seldom that public 
rumour goes so far as to point out any particular 



individual as a proficient in this forbidden art, the 
persuasion that sorcery does still exist, is by no 
means extinct. A sudden and unusual malady, either 
in man or beast, a strange and unlooked-for accident, 
the failure of crops from blight or insects, all these, 
and many more evils, are attributed by the ignorant 
to supernatural causes ; and, it is probable, will 
continue to be so as long as there are those who 
find it their interest to encourage this superstitious 
belief. For there " are individuals, commonly called 
" desorceleurs " or "white-witches," who pretend to be 
able to declare whether a person is bewitched or 
not, and to have it in their power, by charms and 
incantations, to counteract the evil influence. Of 
course this is not to be done for nothing ; and cases 
of this kind, where large sums of money have been 
extorted from ignorant dupes, have, even of late years, 
formed the subject of judicial investigation. It is 
useless to attempt to reason with the lower orders 
on this subject. They have an answer ready which, 
in their minds at least, is a conclusive reply to all 
doubts that may be suggested : 

" Witches and witchcraft are frequently spoken of 
in the Holy Scriptures ; who, then, but an unbeliever, 
can doubt that such things are ? " 

Guernsey did not escape the epidemic delusion 
which spread over the whole of Europe in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Here, as else- 
where, a terror seized upon the people, and no man 
thought himself secure from the machinations of the 
agents of Satan. The records of the Royal Court of 
the island contain far too many condemnations of 
unfortunate men and women to the stake for sorcery; 
and the evidence on which the sentences against 


them were based, as well as their own confessions, 
extorted under the infliction of torture, and taken 
down in writing at the time, are still extant. The 
unhappy individuals were of various ages and 
conditions, but, judging from the statements of their 
accusers, and the evidence brought against them, 
they appear to have been in most, if not all cases, 
persons of irregular life, subsisting by begging and 
pilfering, vindictive towards those who offended them, 
and clever in taking advantage of, and working on, 
the fears and preconceived notions of their dupes. 

They were accused of causing storms to arise, in 
which the unfortunate fisherman who had refused 
them a share of his catch, either lost his boat, his 
gear, or his life ; or was so tempest-tossed as to be 
in danger of losing his wits. Women and children 
were, by their infernal influence, afflicted with sudden 
and strange maladies. Oxen, horses, calves, sheep, 
and swine died unexpectedly, the cows calved pre- 
maturely, and either gave no milk, or else blood in 
lieu of it. Butter would not come, or became rancid 
even while it was being made, and curds dissolved 
and turned to whey. 

Maggots of unusual appearance, black at both 
extremities, appeared in prodigious quantities in the 
beds, and even under the women's caps, and lice were 
in such numbers that they could be swept away 
with a broom. 

The water in the fountains usually so bright and 
limpid became turbid and unfit for use, and full of 
tadpoles and disgusting insects. Frogs and black 
beasts (" des betes noires "), whatever they may have 
been, sat by the bedside of those who were under a 
spell ; but all these evils disappear as suddenly as 

s 2 


they have come, either on the sufferer weakly yielding 
to the demands of the supposed sorcerer, or having 
courage enough to threaten to denounce him to the 
judicial authorities. 

It is not to be wondered at that the pretended 
wizards and witches should have shrunk from a 
judicial investigation at a time when all believed 
firmly in their supernatural powers, and when the 
examination into the alleged facts was carried on in 
a manner so different from the procedure of the 
present day, hearsay evidence of the vaguest 
description being admitted as proof, and when that 
failed, torture being resorted to in order to extort a 

From the evidence given, and the confessions of 
the sorcerers themselves, it appears that the means 
employed by them to effect their nefarious designs 
were various ; but two in particular are mentioned. 

A peculiar black powder, furnished them by their 
master, the Devil, which, being cast on man or beast, 

was the cause of serious and unusual maladies ; and 

/ ' 

certain enchanted articles, introduced furtively into 
the beds or pillows of those on whom they wished to 
practise their evil arts. 

These charms are variously described by the 
witnesses as consisting of seeds of different kinds, of 
which mildewed or blighted beans seem to have 
been the most common, and of feathers, knotted 
together with ends of thread or silk twist, and 
sometimes made into the shape of a small image. 

When the beds or pillows were opened to search 
for these articles, it sometimes happened that an 
animal was seen to leave the bed, which, after 
taking various forms, as that of a black cat, a cock, 


a rat, a mouse, or a stoat, succeeded in evading all 
attempts to catch it, and escaped in a mysterious 

Isabell Le Moigne, one of the witches, declared 
in her confession that this was none other than 
Satan himself. If these charms were thrown into 
the fire, they produced a most noisome smell, 
but, in some instances, the immediate cure of the 
sufferer was the result. If the person under the 
influence of witchcraft was uncertain on whom he 
ought to fix the guilt of bewitching him, there was 
an infallible method for discovering the culprit. 

The house-key was to be placed on the hearth- 
stone, and the fire heaped around it. As it became 
hot, the wizard or witch, apparently suffering great 
agony, would come to the door, and endeavour to 
force an entrance into the house, offering at the 
same time to put an end to the spell under which 
the inmates were bound. 

Another means of finding out the guilty party was 
to roast the heart of some animal some said that 
of a black sheep was the most efficacious with certain 
prescribed rites and incantations, or to boil it with 
certain herbs known to the white witch or " desor- 
celeur," who, of course, could not be expected to give 
his valuable advice and services for nothing. 

According to the confessions of the unfortunate 
victims of the superstition and credulity of their 
times, to which allusion has been made above, the 
doings of Satan with them were just such as we 
read of in the accounts of prosecutions for witchcraft 
in other countries. A desire to be revenged on some 
persons who had given them offence seems to have 
been the first motive, 





The Devil then appeared to them in the shape of 
a black dog, cat, or other animal, sometimes under 
one likeness, sometimes under another ; offered his 
services, invited them to attend the " Sabbath," which 
was generally held in some weird, out-of-the-way 
locality ; furnished them with a certain ointment, 
which was to be rubbed on the back and stomach ; 
after doing which, they found themselves carried 
through the air, with extraordinary velocity, to the 
appointed place of meeting, where they found other 
wizards and witches, and a number of imps in the 
shape of dogs, cats, and hares. They were unable to 
recognise the other sorcerers on account of their all 
appearing blackened and disfigured, but they knew 
who they were by their answering to their names 
when the roll was called over by Satan before entering 
on the business of the night. 

They commenced by adoring their infernal master 
in a manner which it is not necessary to describe 
minutely. They then danced back to back, after which 
they were regaled with bread and wine, which Satan 
poured out of silver or pewter flagons into goblets of 
the same metals. They all agreed in describing the 
wine as being inferior to that usually drunk ; and 
they asserted that salt was never seen at these feasts. 
The Devil, before dismissing the assembly, gave them 
a certain black powder, of which we have spoken 

The favourite form assumed by Satan on these 
occasions seems to have been that of a large black dog, 
standing upright on his hind legs, but he sometimes 
appeared in the shape of a he-goat. 

Isabell Le Moigne described him as a black dog of 
large size, with long erect horns, and hands like those 


of a man. Deeds were done at the Sabbath which 
will not bear being spoken of ; but there are circum- 
stances which lead one to suppose that the poor 
deluded wretches of w T omen may, in some cases, have 
been deceived by designing men, who enticed them 
from their houses at night, and, under assumed 
disguises, abused their credulity. 

All sorcerers were marked by Satan in some part 
or other of the body, and the mark thus made was 
insensible to pain, and bloodless. 

One of the witches asserted that the Devil, before 
her enlistment into his service, required of her the 
gift of some living animal, and that she presented 
him with a young fowl. The next night at the 
Sabbath, whither she was conveyed through the air 
after having duly anointed her body with the ointment 
given her by the Devil, she was made to renounce the 
Holy Trinity, and to promise obedience to her infernal 
master. It appeared also from the confessions that if 
the servants of Satan refused to do his behests, they 
are beaten and otherwise maltreated by him. 

It is clear from the evidence given in many of the 
trials for witchcraft that the accused, in a majority 
of cases, were persons who "trafficked on the ignorance 
and credulity of the people, and who encouraged 
the idea of their being possessed of supernatural 
powers so long as they found it profitable to do so. 

Even in the present day there are people who are 
afraid to refuse to give alms to a beggar, lest an 
evil eye should be cast upon them ; and who can 
say how many deaths of cattle and pigs, attributed 
to witchcraft, may not have been caused by poison 
adroitly administered out of revenge for a supposed 
injury ? 


In their nocturnal flights through the air to their 
appointed place of meeting with the Demon, witches 
were said to utter loud cries ; and persons may, 
perhaps, still be found ready to affirm that in 
tempestuous nights, when the wind was howling 
round their dwellings, they have been able 
to distinguish above all the tumult of the elements, 
the unearthly cry of " Har-heri * / que-hou-hou ! 
Sabbat ! Sabbat.'" This cry is attributed to the 
"gens du hocq" or " gens du Vendredi," as they are 
called by those whose prudence deters them from 
speaking of " sorciers " and " sorcieres," lest the use 
of such offensive epithets should give umbrage. It 
is believed, too, that in their assemblies on Friday 
nights on the hill of Catioroc, around the cromlech 
called " Le Trepied," or on the sands of Eocquaine 
Bay, they dance to a roundelay, the burden of which 
is " Que-hou-Jiou I Marie Lilian / " Some suppose that 
these words are uttered in defiance of the Blessed 
Yirgin Mary, in whose honour the church and priory 
were erected and dedicated by the name of Notre 
Dame, Ste. Marie de Lihou. They are now a heap 
of shapeless ruins, but the place must have been 
looked upon as one of peculiar sanctity, for even down 
to the present day French coasting vessels passing 
by salute it by lowering their topmast. It is not 
then to be wondered at if the infernal sisterhood 
one of whose chief amusements, as is well known, is 
the raising of storms in which many a proud vessel 
goes down should take a particular delight in insulting 

* Ke, Gu& or Tie and Hou are epithets applied to ths Diety in the Bas Breton. 
MS. Note by Mr. George Metivier. 

" Sabot-Daima. witch hornpipe." (Idem.) 


the " Star of the Sea," the kind and ever-watchful 
guardian of the poor mariner. 

Wizards and witches are supposed to have the power 
of navigating on the sea in egg-shells, and on the 
blade-bones of animals. It is to prevent this improper 
use of them that the spoon is always thrust through 
the egg-shell after eating its contents, and that a hole 
is made through the blade-bone before throwing it 

It is believed that witches have the power of 
assuming the shape of various animals, and many 
stories turn on the exercise of this supposed faculty. 
The favourite forms with them appear to be those 
of cats, hares, and " cahouettes " * or red-legged 
choughs. It is not easy to conjecture how this 
beautiful and harmless bird got into such bad 
company ; perhaps its predilection for the wild and 
unfrequented cliffs and headlands, where the witches 
are supposed to hold their unholy meetings, may 
have gained it the reputation of being in alliance 
with them. 

In Guernsey, as elsewhere, a horseshoe, nailed on 
the lintel, door, or threshold, or on the mast or any 
other part of a ship or boat, is supposed to be a 

* Mr. Metivier, in his Dictionnaire Franco- Nonnand, has a long article on 
"cahouettes." He says: 

" They play, in neo-latin mythology, a very interesting part, even to-day 
some traces of which are to be found. Wizards and witches, according to the 
councils, disguised themselves formerly as ' cahouets ' and ' cahouettes.' 
Raphael, Archbishop of Nicosie, capital of the island of Cyprus, in the year 
I25t, excommunicated all the 'cahouets' and the 'cahouettes' as well as those 
who supported and encouraged games of chance. (Cj'istitutions, ch. 15^. And 
the Council of Nimes, thirty years after, treats in the same manner witches 
and sooth sayers, 'coavets' and " coavettes." 

" In the hierarchy of Mithras, that type of the rising sun which bewitched 
the Gauls, the deacon, or minister was entitled ' corneille ' or rook ; and on the 


sure preservative against witchcraft, and, although a 
black cat is one of the most frequent disguises 
assumed by Satan's imps and servants, the household 
in which a cat without a single white hair is 
domesticated, is thought to be highly favoured, as 
none of the infernal gang will venture to molest it. 
As some persons are fully persuaded that every black 
cat, however tame and well-behaved it may appear 
to be, is in reality in league with the Prince of 
Darkness, it may be that any interference on the 
part of others of the fraternity is contrary to the 
rules established among them, and resented accordingly, 
the old saying that " two of a trade cannot agree," 
holding good in this case. 

Allusion has been made to those who have an 
interest in encouraging a belief in witchcraft, and there 
is no doubt that persons who, for some reason or 
other, enjoy the unenviable reputation of dabbling in 
this forbidden art, now that they have no longer the 
fear of the stake and faggot before their eyes, and 
have only the minor terrors of a Police Court to 
dread, are not altogether unwilling to brave the 
latter danger if, by working on the credulity of the 

first day of the year, according to Porphyry, the initiates disguised themselves 
severally as beasts and birds." 

Mr. Metivier ends by citing two authorities on ancient traditions concerning 
these birds. 

" Le corbeau est consacre a Apollon, et il est son ministre (famulus), voila 
pourquoi il possede la faculte de pit-dire." Ghard Jean Voss, liv. 3, sur 
V Idolatrie. 

" Je crois que res ceremonies se celebraient pres de Coptos, ville dont le 
ncm etait si fameux, et d'ou vient 1'Egypte. Dans les environs de cette cite, 
on voyait deux corbeaux, c'etaient les seuls .... Et il y avait la 1'image 
d' Apollon, auquel les corbeaux etaient consacres." 

La corneille est le symbole de 1'amour conjugal." Nicolas Caussin, Jesuite, 
natif de Troyes, Notes sur Horapollo. Paris, 1618, p. 165. 


ignorant and superstitious, they can extort money, or 
even command a certain amount of consideration as 
the possessors of supernatural powers. 

Few would venture in the present day to 
acknowledge openly that they could injure their 
neighbours by the exercise of unholy arts ; but many 
may be found who pretend to a secret knowledge 
which may be used for beneficent purposes. 

The difference, however, between a true witch the 
servant of Satan and what is commonly called " a 
white witch," has never been clearly defined. The 
latter is known in Guernsey by the name of 
" desorceleresse ' : or " desorceleur," for the art is 
quite as frequently, if not more frequently, exercised 
by men than by women. The persons who practise 
it pretend to be able to declare whether man or 
beast is suffering from the effects of witchcraft, to 
discover who it is that has cast the spell, and, by 
means of spells and incantations, to counteract the 
evil influence. It is clear, however, that one who is 
in possession of such powers must himself have a 
very intimate and profound knowledge of the arts he 
is fighting against, and that, if offended, he may 
perhaps be tempted to practise them. The 
" desorceleur " thus is as much feared as trusted, 
and as, of course, he cannot be expected to give his 
valuable services for nothing, the profession is often 
found to be very remunerative, large sums of money, 
besides presents in kind, being sometimes extorted 
from the superstition and fears of the credulous 

There is no doubt, however, that some of these 
pretenders have some skill in the cure of the diseases 
to which cattle are liable, and even that some of 


the minor ailments to which the human race are 
subject, are occasionally relieved by them, especially 
those and among ignorant, uneducated people they 
are not few which arise out of a disordered 
imagination. The habits of close observation which 
those of his profession acquire must needs give the 
u desorceleur " a great insight into character ; his 
cunning will soon teach him how to work on the 
fears and credulity of those who come to consult 
him, and his experience will guide him into the best 
way of exercising his knowledge. 

How far the so-called white-witches are believers in 
their own supernatural powers is an open question. 
It may be that, in making use of certain forms or 
practices which they have learned from others, they 
may be fully persuaded in their own minds of their 
efficacy, it may be that in some cases they are 
labouring under a sort of hallucination. 

A noted bone-setter, who, it is said, was occasionally 
resorted to when man or beast was supposed to be 
under evil influence, or when it was sought to 
discover the perpetration of a theft, used to account 
for his pretended knowledge of the anatomy of the 
human body by asserting solemnly that this know- 
ledge had been revealed to him in a vision from 
Heaven, and he had repeated this story so often 
that it was evident to his hearers that he had come 
at last to believe fully in the truth of what he said. 

The rustic bone-setter is not necessarily a 
" desorceleur," although, as in the instance just 
noticed, the two professions may be combined; but 
he is skilled in the cure of those somewhat 
mysterious ailments known as " une veine tresaillie," 
which seems to be a sprain or strain, and "les 


cota'is bas," which may be defined as that sort of 
dyspeptic affection which the lower orders call a 
" sinking of the stomach " or " all-overness." This 
ailment is supposed popularly to be caused by the 
ribs slipping out of their place, and is cured by 
manipulation and pushing them gradually back into 
their proper position. The efficacy of friction properly 
applied in reducing a sprain is well known, and 
accounts for the frequent success of the bone-setter 
in the treatment of " veines tresaillies." 

Some of these practitioners old women as well as 
men pretend to have the gift of causing warts to 
disappear by counting them, and asking certain 
questions of the persons applying to them for relief. 
The principal information they seem to wish to arrive 
at is the age of the person ; and this known, they 
predict that the warts are likely to disappear within 
a certain time. As these unsightly excrescences affect 
more particularly young persons, and as it is known 
that they frequently disappear naturally at that age 
when youth is passing into manhood, it is not 
unlikely that this fact may have been observed, and 
the knowledge of it turned to account. It is believed 
that those who possess the secret may impart it to 
one, and to one only ; but they must receive neither 
fee nor reward for so doing ; for if they do, or if 
they tell it to more than one, they lose their power 
of curing. They must not receive money for their 
services, but if a cure is effected they are at liberty 
to take a present. 

As might be expected, fortune- telling forms no 
small part of the white-witch's profession, although 
all do not practise it, and some confine themselves 
to this particular branch alone. Cards seem to be 




'now the principal means used for prying into the 
secrets of futurity, but other appliances have been 
used, and may, perhaps, still be used by some, such 
as the detection of a thief by means of a Bible 
and key. 

A sort of rhabdomancy, or divination by small rods, 
shuffled together with certain ceremonies and charms, 
and then thrown on the ground, was used by a sort 
of half-demented creature called Collas Rousse-, about 
the end of the last century. 

He is said to have had a good deal of shrewdness, 
to have been very quick at repartee, and to have 
had great facility in expressing himself in rhymed 
sentences. He appears to have believed that he was 
really in possession of supernatural knowledge, and 
as his assumption of extraordinary powers gained 
credence with the vulgar, he found it an easy task 
to make a profit of their credulity. It is reported 
of him that when brought to justice for some gross 
act of imposition, he had the audacity to threaten 
his judges with the effects of his vengeance. His 
threats, however, did not deter the magistrates from 
sentencing him to exposure in the cage on a market 
day, with his divining apparatus by his side. He 
bore his punishment bravely, and entertained the 
multitude who crowded to see him with rhyming 
remarks. Another species of rhabdomancy is the 
use of the divining rod, the efficacy of which is 
fully believed in, not only for the discovery of 
springs of water, but also for the revealing of the 
spot where treasure has been concealed ; and, if the 
stories that are told are all to be depended upon, 
there is evidence sufficient to stagger the sturdiest 


A country gentleman, now dead, whom nobody 
who knew him took for a conjurer, was particularly 
renowned for his skill in this art. Not only could 
he tell by means of the rod where a spring of water 
was to be found, and to what depth it would be 
necessary to dig before coming to it, but he could 
also discover in what part of a field or house money 
or plate had been hidden. In order, however, to 
perform this last feat, it is necessary that the rod 
should be previously touched with metal of the same 
kind as that to be sought for. It is only in the 
hands of some few favoured individuals that the rod 
works, and even then it does so in various degrees ; 
with some, being violently agitated, with others, moving 
slowly, and sometimes imperceptibly. The art of 
holding the forked stick may be taught to anyone, 
but unless a natural aptitude exists, the rod remains 
inert in the grasp of the holder. 

A portion of the confessions of some of the 
unfortunate victims who suffered at the stake in 
1617, translated from the records preserved in the 
Eegister Office of the Eoyal Court of Guernsey, will 
be given as a specimen of the absurdities to which 
credence could be given in a superstitious age.* 

It must not, however, be forgotten that the island 
did not stand alone in this belief. No part of 
Europe seems to have escaped the absurd dread of 
witchcraft, which, like a pestilence, spread from one 
nation to another, and from which even the most 
learned of the age, men of profound thought, did 
not escape. One curious fact may be noticed ; the 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * These are also given in full, in French, with an English translation, by 
Mr. J. Linwood Pitts, F.S.A., (Normandy), in his Witchcraft and Devil-Lore in the Channel 
Islands, etc., 1886. 


practices imputed to the accused, who were for the 
most part of the lowest and most ignorant classes of 
society, and to which in numberless instances they 
confessed, appear to have been nearly identical in all 
countries. The inference is that they must have been 
handed down from a very remote period, and that 
they were in use among the pretenders to magical 
arts and supernatural powers among our pagan 
ancestors ; just as in the present day we find similar 
ideas and practices existing among savage tribes, 
and in semi-civilised countries where the light of 
Christianity has not yet penetrated. It is well known 
how difficult it is to wean a people from their primitive 
belief, and how prone they are to cling to it in secret. 
Is it not possible that some secret society may have 
existed for ages after the spread of the Gospel in 
which heathen practices may have been perpetuated ? 

trials for Mitcljcraft, ani 

15TH MAY, 1581. 

Katherine Eustace and her daughter were accused 
by common consent of practising the art of \\itchcraft 
in the island. 

The wife of Collas Cousin deposed that having 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The documents which follow are translated from the Records of the Royal 
Court preserved at the Greffe. Sir Edgar MacCulloch had copied out the depositions of the 
witnesses on loose sheets of paper, evidently meaning to incorporate them into his book. 
The " Confession of the Witches " in his MS. follows his essay on Witchcraft. 


refused to give milk to the accused, saying that 
there were poorer people to whom she would rather 
give, her cow then gave blood instead of milk. 

Johan Le Eoux deposed that having been seized 
with great pains in his knee, he believed himself to 
be bewitched by Katherine Eustace, so his wife went 
to the latter and threatened to denounce her to the 
Royal Court ; after that he got better. 

28TH OCTOBEE, 1581. 

Robert Asheley, found dead in the garden behind St. 
Peter Port parsonage, suspected of having committed 
suicide by shooting himself with an arquebus. This 
having been proved according to the law, the Court, after 
hearing the speech made by Her Majesty's Procureur, 
found that the said Robert Asheley shall be carried to 
some unfrequented spot and there buried, a heap of 
stones being placed on his body,* and thus he shall 
be deprived of burial in the spot where Christian 
remains are placed ; and that all his goods shall be 
confiscate to Her Majesty the Queen. 

25TH FEBRUARY, 1583. 

Collas de la Rue is accused of using the arts of 
witchcraft, and of grievously vexing and tormenting 
divers subjects of Her Majesty. 

Matthieu Cauchez deposed that his wife being in 
a pining languorous condition, having heard that 
Collas de la Rue was a wizard, and knowing that 


* See in " Hamlet," where the priest refuses Christian burial to Ophelia as a suicide, and 
commands :" Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown upon her." 

It has been conjectured that these heaps of stones were placed upon graves, more especially 
of criminals and suicides, to keep the spirit in the earth, and prevent the ghost from walking. 
Hence the modern gravestone. 

T 2 


he frequently visited his house, he asked him if he 
could help his wife. Collas replied : 

"As to her she is an 'in pace' (sic), she will not 
live much longer." 

De la Eue came to the place where his wife lay ill, 
and caused the bed to be reversed, putting the bolster 
at the foot ; she died three hours afterwards. 

James Blanche affirmed that having failed in a 
promise he nad made to De la Eue, the latter swore 
he should repent. His wife soon afterwards became 
swollen all over, in which state she remained for 
some considerable time. He finally went to De la Eue, 
and consulted him as to how to cure his wife, and 
he gave him a decoction of herbs to be used as a 
drink, by which his wife was cured. 

Thomas Behot deposed that on returning from 
fishing, he refused to give some fish to the son of 
Collas De la Eue. The son said he was a " false 
villain," and complained to his father, who on that 
said, " Tais-toy, il n'en peschera plus gueres" (" Be 
quiet, he will not catch many more.") That same day 
he was taken ill, and became so swollen that he could 
not rest between his sheets (en ses draps). After 
having been ill for a long time, his wife unsewed 
his mattress and found therein several sorts of 
grains, such as broom, " alisandre ' : " nocillons " or 
" nerillons de feves," (black beans ?), the treadles of 
sheep, pieces of laurel, rags with feathers stuck into 
them,* and several other things. His wife threw it 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * In a letter called " Voudouism in Virginia," quoted by Mr. Moncure D. 
Conway in his book on Demonology and Devil-Lore, Vol. I., p. 69., the following similar 
superstition is noticed. " If an ignorant negro is smitten with a disease which he cannot 
comprehend, he often imagines himself the victim of witchcraft, and, having no faith in 
' white folks' physic ' for such ailments, must apply to one of these quacks. A physician 
residing near this city (Richmond), was invited by such a one to witness his mode of procedure 
with a dropsical patiunt for whom the physician in question had occasionally charitably 
prescribed. On the coverlet of the bed on which the sick man lay, was spread a quantity of 


all into the fire, and such an awful smell arose from 
the flames that they were obliged to leave the room, 
and immediately his swelling disappeared. The same 
day he was taken with such violent pains that he 
thought his last hour was come. Whereupon his wife 
put the key of their front door in the fire, and, as 
soon as it began to get red hot, Collas de la Eue, 
who had not been invited, and who had not put foot 
inside their house for six years, arrived there before 
sunrise, and said that he would undertake to cure 
him, but that it would be a lengthy operation, that 
he would have to refer to a book that he had at 
home, by which he had cured several people, Matthieu 
Cauchez among others, and that also he (the witness) 
would be cured. So Collas made him some poultices 
of herbs, but they did not cure him. With great 
difficulty he dragged himself to St. Martin's Church 
(au temple de St. Martin), where De la Eue said to 
him : 

" I am glad to see you here, and yet not entirely 
glad, for you are not yet cured." 

When the deponent replied that he soon hoped to 
be on the sea again, De la Eue replied : 

" Do not go, for you will not return without great 
danger." (" N'y vas pas, car a grand' peine en 
reviendras tu.") 

However, he persisted in going, and encountered 
such bad weather that he and all the crew were 

bones, feathers and other trash. The charlatan went through with a series of so-called 
conjurations, burned feathers, hair, and tiny fragments of wood in a charcoal furnace, and 
mumbled gibberish past the physician's comprehension. He then proceeded to rip open the 
pillows and bolsters, and took from them some queer conglomerations of feathers. These he 
said had caused all the trouble. Sp'inkling a whitish powder over them he burnt them in his 
furnace. A black offensive smoke was produced, and he announced triumphantly that the evil 
influence was destroyed and that the patient would surely get well. He died not many days 
later, believing, in common with all his friends and relatives, that the conjurations of the 
' (rick doctor ' had failed to save him only because resorted to too late," 


nearly drowned. And returning very ill, and his 
malady continuing, his wife again unsewed his mattress 
and there found an image made of a bone-like 
substance and apparently all gnawed, (d'une maniere 
d'os tout ronge ) which he took to the magistrates, 
and afterwards got better. 

Collas De la Eue also told him that Collas 
Eouget had gone to Normandy to seek a cure. Had 
he only consulted him first, he need not have gone 
so far to be cured. In conclusion he said that on 
his conscience he believed and affirmed the said De 
la Eue to be a wizard. 

Eichard de Vauriouf deposed that having had 
several differences with Collas De la Eue on the 
subject of his cattle, which had caused him 
annoyance, De la Eue said to him : 

" You are very strong and active, but before long 
you will not be thus, and you will be humbled after 
another manner." (" Tu es bien robuste et fort, 
mais avant qu'il soit gueres ce ne sera pas ainsy, 
et tu seras autrement abaisse.") 

Very soon afterwards the said Vauriouf was taken ill, 
and so was one of his daughters, and he was weak 
and languishing for more than a month. 

Pierre Tardif, who had had some law-suits with 
Collas De la Eue, deposed that thereupon his 
daughter was taken ill, and her mattress being 
searched they found several .... (here and in 
various places the record is torn) .... of several 
kinds, and being .... made principally of a coloured 
silken thread and of .... of broom, of beans cut 
up, two of them being black .... a pin stuck in 
a piece of rag and .... After having taken advice 
he (Tardif) had thrashed De la Eue .... after having 




given him two knock-down blows, his daughter was 
all right again. After which she was again taken ill, 
so he searched for De la Rue, and, having found 
him, he again thrashed him, this time drawing blood, 
and shortly after that his daughter was cured. In 
conclusion he also deposed upon oath his belief that 
De la Eue was a wizard. 

.... deposed as to having heard Collas De la Eue 
say that he had means to silence those who spoke 
ill of him (" qu'il avait des moyens de faire taire 
ceux qui parloient mal de luy." 

(The record is here again torn, and the trial appa- 
rently did not conclude, but in 1585 the proceedings 
against Collas De la Rue were recommenced and many 
of the same witnesses appeared). 


Collas Hugues appeared in person and showed his 
child to us in the Court. This said child cannot talk 
except at random and with an impediment in its 
speech that none can cure ; and he declares his 
conviction that his said child is " detained " (detenu) 
by some wizard, and he will take his oath that it is 
Collas De la Rue who " detains " him, inasmuch 
that the latter threatened him that he would afflict 
him through his most precious treasure (du plus 
cher joyau qu'il peut avoir). On this declaration, 
Her Majesty's Procureur testified to us that the said 
De la Rue had formerly been imprisoned for sorcery, 
and now, that though he had not always been 
proved guilty, yet that to all outward appearance he 
had practised the art of witchcraft, and so much so, 
that new complaints being made against him, he had 


demanded the arrest and the confiscation of the goods 
of the said De la Eue, which was granted. 

On the 25th of December an investigation was 


DECEMBEE, 1585. 

James Blanche affirms that on a certain day, having 
promised to go for a day's work to the aforesaid De 
la Rue, and not having done so, that he was heard 
to say to one of his people, that he, Blanche, should 
repent, and that soon afterwards his wife was seized 
with an illness which lasted for nearly a year. So that, 
finding the said De la Rue near " La Croix Guerin," * 
he asked him if he could give him something to 
cure his wife. Then the said De la Rue took an 
apple, which he broke into six parts, of which he 
retained one, and gave the remaining five pieces to 
the said Blanche to carry back to his wife, forbidding 
him at the same time to eat a mouthful. Notwith- 
standing, when he quitted De la Rue, he ate the said 
apple, and at that moment the said De la Rue 
appeared before him, he having not yet reached his 
own house, and taxed him with having eaten the 
forbidden apple, and the same day his wife was 
cured. He, Blanche, says that this is a man given 
to threats, and is much suspected and generally 
denounced as being a wizard, and he has even heard 
that people have called him "sorcier" to his face 
and he has not resented it. 

DECEMBEE, 1585. 

Jehennet des Perques deposed that at divers times 
the said Collas De la Rue went to the fishermen and 
foretold to them when they should have fine weather 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* The old name for the cross roads at St. Martin's, near where the village 
Post Office now stands. 


and when they should have storms He was 

commonly reported to be a wizard. He also deposed 
that on a certain day, he being at the house of Collas 
Henry, where the said De la Rue had quarrelled with 
the wife of Collas de Bertran, who had called him 
" sorcier " (wizard), he threatened her that she 
should repent, and that the said Mrs. de Bertran fell 
in descending the stairs (cheut aval les degrez) 
and bruised herself from head to foot. 

Several witnesses depose that Collas De la Rue is 
a man much given to threats, that various persons 
have fallen ill after having been threatened by him, 
and that he cured them at his will. 

He was sent back to prison. 

It appears that Collas De la Rue was executed, 
for, in a lawsuit against Denis de Garis for concealing 
a treasure that he had found in his house, it is said 
that the aforesaid treasure was found on the day of 
Collas De la Rue's execution, that is to say the 
25th of March, 1585-6. 

24TH NOVEMBEE, 1602. 

Marie Roland is accused of sorcery. 

John Sohier witnesses that the aforesaid Marie, 
having been with him one day at the house of the 
Henry's, together with Joan Henry, whose child lay 
ill, she confessed to having bewitched the child, and 
on being asked in what manner, said that she had 
put its clothes one night by the stream (aupres du 
douit) and that she and her master the Devil then 
entered into the house of the said Henry by the 
chimney, and found the said child by the hearth, 
and with a splinter she pricked the child, and it 
was bewitched for three months, 


10TH APEIL, 1613. 

An inquest on the suspicions of witchcraft against 
Olivier Omont, Cecile Yaultier, his wife, and 
Guillemine Omont, their daughter. 

Jacques Bailleul deposed that having refused alms 
to Olivier Omont his son was taken with a pain in 
his ear which lasted twenty-four hours, that the doctor 
said that he could not understand it (qu'il n'y con- 
naissait rien), that he believes that Olivier is a wizard. 

Guillemine Le Pastourell affirms that Omont came 
begging from her, and she said that he was stronger 
than her and that he could gain his bread if necessary 
without begging, that the next day she was taken 
ill, that she remained ill for three weeks, that Omont, 
having come again, gave her some bread, and after 
that she recovered. During her illness all her cattle 
died. She believed it was from some spell cast by 
the said Omont. 

Marie Sohier witnesses that the day after the death 
of her husband Olivier Omont came to her house 
demanding bread. She replied that having numerous 
children to feed she could not spare him any, that 
he went away grumbling. At that very moment her 
daughter Marguerite, aged six years, was taken ill, 
and when they gave her some bread she threw it away 
and ate cinders by the handful. That her daughter 
Marie, one year old, was taken ill one hour after the 
departure of Omont, and she had remained ill for two 
years. That having met Omont at the Mont Durand 
she threatened to throw a stone at him, and called 
him " sorcier," that on returning home she gave a 
lump of white bread to her child, who ate it all, and 
since then is quite well. She believes that the said 
Omont was the cause of the sickness of her children. 


Philippin Le Goubey witnesses that Olivier Omont 
having begged for cider from his wife, she refused 
him, and was instantly afflicted with grievous pains ; 
that he entreated the said Omont several times 
to come into his house to see his wife, but that he 
always refused ; that one day he forced him to enter, 
and he put one foot in the house and the other 
out, and then he fled ; that rushing after him he 
threatened to denounce him to justice if he would 
not cure his wife ; that then he said that she would 
be well again in a fortnight, but that he could not 
cure her at that moment ; that he forced him to 
return to the house, and that, when there, he 
threatened to keep him there until he was delivered 
up to justice ; that at that very moment his wife was 
cured of the worst of her pains ; that having shortly 
afterwards come into the town to make a notification 
of these things, he found that the said Omont had 
already taken a boat and fled from the country. 

Pierre Simon, of Torteval, being at the Hougue 
Antan,* met Olivier Omont lying with his face against 
the ground. He tried to awake him, shook him, and 
heard a buzzing (un bourdonnement) but saw 
nothing. Feeling rather frightened he left him and 
went on towards the Buttesf of Torteval, and then 
came back to the place where he had left him. 
Omont suddenly awoke, having his mouth full of mud, 

* This is a hill at Torteval, on which, says Mr. Metivier, our ancestors used 
to light signal fires near the " Hougue Herault," where the northern King 
Herolt made his signals. He says the name is derived from the Breton An Tat, 
" the old Father," a name for the God of the Gauls ; iu Swedish it is Anda, 
the spirit, or Onda, the evil one. See Notes in Rimes Guernesiaises. 

t These were the mounds of earth where they practised with the cross-bow 
before the introduction of rnuskets, The " BuUes " still exist in some parishes, 


and his face all disfigured (defigure). Omont having 
been questioned replied that he had fallen from the 
cliff, and that Pierre Nant had seen him fall. 

Several people witnessed that having refused alms 
to Omont and to his wife, their cattle fell ill and 
died, their cows gave blood instead of milk, or gave 
nothing at all, their sows and their cows miscarried, 
and misfortunes happened to their wives. 

29TH JUNE, 1613. 

Thomas Mancell witnessed that his wife having 
refused alms to Omont, their cow fell ill, and they 
were obliged to kill it. Jean Hamon, who flayed the 
cow, cut it at the shoulder, and " there issued a 
black beast as large as a little ' cabot ' (a small 
fish). Its throat was such that one could easily 
insert the tip of one's little finger, and it had 
two little wings " ( " en sortit une beste noire, 
grosse comme un petit cabot, dans la gueule duquell 
on aurait bien mis le bout du petit doigt et avait 
deulx petites ailes.") 

Jean Le Feyvre, of the Mielles,* witnesseth that 
one morning he found Cecile, wife of Omont, near 
the Chapelle de 1'Epine, where she was searching, he 
could not tell for what, and where she remained for 
a long while without his being able to perceive that 
she found anything, and she did not perceive that 
he was watching her ; and he having asked her 
shortly afterwards whether it was she that he had 
observed at such an hour near the chapel, she denied 

* Mielles, in Normandy, Brittany, and the Channel Islands, means the 
" waste lands on the sea-shore." In the Vale parish alone there were two 
estates called " Les Mielles." See Metivier's Dictionary, Mielles, 


it, and that afterwards he asked her again whether 
it was she who was in that neighbourhood, and she 
replied in the affirmative, and then he started fine 
rumours, (ung beau bruit) saying that she was dancing 
on the thorn which grows in the aforesaid neighbour- 

29TH MAY, 1613. 

Thomasse, wife of Collas Troussey, deposes that 
one night, her husband being on guard at the Castle, 
she was awakened by a frightful noise, like cats 
squalling, and she dared not cry out on account of 
Olivier Omont, who was sleeping in the same corridor 
as herself, though the miauling of the cats still 
continued. When her husband was returned from 
his patrol, she dared ask Omont if he had not 
heard the cats, to which he replied Yes, but there 
was nothing for her to be afraid of, that they would 
do her no harm. That another night, her husband 
being also there, she had heard Omont call "Cats! 
cats ! " and on asking him if he had cats in his 
wallet (en son bisac,) he replied " No," and that 
the noise seemed beneath where she lay, but that 
he was afraid that they would eat the fish that was 
on the table. 

Olivier Omont, his wife and daughter, were all 
banished from the island. 

30TH JUNE, 1613. 

An enquiry was held on Laurence L'Eustace, wife 
of Thomas Le Comte, suspected of being a witch. 

Jean Hallouvris witnesses that for four years he 
has driven his cart. As the wheels passed close to 
Laurence she dropped several strings and twists of 



" High Street, 1850," 
Sketched from an Old Picture by the late Mr. A. C. Andros. 


rushes (quelques colliers et nattes de pavie) * that 
she was carrying, at which she was very angry. 
Two days afterwards, one of his bullocks set off 
running as if it were mad, and then fell down stone 
dead, and the other bullock died the next day. 

Pierre Machon deposes that he has heard Laurence 
swear " By God's ten fingers " (" Par les dix doigts 
de Dieu"), and with oaths and blasphemies call devils 
to her assistance. 

Christine, wife of Pierre Jehan, says that her first 
husband, Collas Henry, having had a quarrel with 
Laurence Le Comte, one of their children, aged two 
years, was taken with an illness which lasted for 
twelve months. When the attack first came on, he 
jumped high into the air, that, before 'being taken 
ill he walked very well, but that afterwards, all that 
year he crawled on his hands and knees. That, 
having had a quarrel with the said Laurence, and 
having put some curds to cool, (des caillebottes a 
refroidir), she found them the next day just like bits 
of rag (que de la meque), and that on the following 
Monday the child was seized with terror, and 
cried out that someone was pulling his nose. That, 
as soon as she went to Laurence's house, the child 
got better, but, on her return, fell ill again, and 
finally died. 

Laurence L'Eustache, wife of Thomas Le Comte, 
was also banished from the island. 

On the 17th of May, 1617, began the trial of 
Collette du Mont, widow of Jean Becquet, Marie, 
her daughter, wife of Pierre Massy, and Isebel 
Becquet, wife of Jean Le Moygrie. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Pavie used to be grown in ponds arranged for the purpose, and was used 
for making pack-saddles, horse-collars, mats, etc. It is a reed. From John de Can's, Esy. 


James Gallienne witnesses that one day, having 
quarrelled with Jean Le Moigne, husband of the 
aforesaid Isebell, the said Le Moigne said to him : 

" You are always seeking to pick quarrels with 
me, and you say that my wife is a witch, but 
before six months are over you will be very glad 
to come and implore me to help you ; ' that 
immediately his wife fell into a lingering illness, 
and, doubting not but that it was the effect of 
a spell, opened all the mattresses and found all 
kinds of filth and bits of feather, which he has 
showed to several people ; and in some quite new 
pillows which he had at home he found a large 
quantity of worms. He says that about six years 
ago, one of his children being ill, he was putting a 
pillow under his head, found it hard, and, on 
unripping it, found it full of dirt. While they unsewed 
it they heard a flapping noise as of the wings of 
a cock, and the said child declared that he saw this 
cock ; that, having shut all the doors, they tried to 
find what it really was, and that, having hunted and 
ransacked the house, they saw first a rat, then a 
weasel, which slipped through the holes of the 
pavement (sortit par les pertius de la dalle). And at 
the end of two or three days he was asked why 
he had beaten the said Isebell Becquet. He replied 
that he had not touched her, and soon after that 
he was advised to try whether she was a witch, by 
putting the key of his front door (de son grand huis) 
in the fire, which he did. When the said key 
had been nearly two days in the fire the said woman 
arrived at his house, without asking whether he 
were at home, and begged of him seven to nine 
(sept a neuf) things which he refused her, she 



wishing at all hazards to come in further (entrer 
plus outre) to see the sick child, which he would 
not allow. 

Item. Deposeth that his wife having rebuked the 
said Isebell because her children annoyed those of the 
said Gallienne, she went away very vexed, and the 
next day one of his oxen broke its neck, his mare 
miscarried, and his wife was taken ill. 

Item ; that the children of the said Isebell said one 
day to the children of the said Gallienne, that if 
their mother was ill it was because she had spoken 
rudely ; that some time afterwards, Mrs. Gallienne 
being in bed in her room, the door being shut and 
simply a sky-light (une luquerne sic, lucarne) open, she 
felt something like a cat, which, little by little, crept 
on her chest as she lay on her bed. Having shaken 
it to the ground, she heard one or two growls, on 
which, astonished, she began to threaten it that if it 
was a wizard or a witch she would cut it to pieces 
(que le couperoit en pieces), it returned by the said 

Thomas Sohier said that Jean Jehan having 
summoned him to come and make his will, he 
complained that the said Isebell was killing him 
for having refused to make a jacket for her son. 
That some little time afterwards James Gallienne, 
having a sick daughter, caused her bed to be 
unripped, out of which came a sort of animal like 
a rat (une maniere de bete comme un rat), which 
hid itself in some wood and was hunted for 
throughout the house ; that on the following day, 
having met the said Isebell, he noticed her face all 
torn (dechire sic). On asking her the cause she said 
it was from " du mal d'Espagne," (cantharides, the 


Spanish fly used for making blisters) ; that on that 
he asked James Gallienne if he had not beaten her, 
who replied in the negative ; that, being the other 
day at the house of the said Gallienne, giving 
evidence to this, his wife fell down as if dead, and on 
returning to consciousness, said that she was bewitched. 

Item. Testifies that in the bed of the aforesaid 
daughter (of Gallienne), were found twenty-one or 
twenty-two spells (sorcerons).* 

Many other depositions told the same story. Oxen 
and calves died, cows and mares miscarried, sheep fell 
dead, children and women were taken ill, no cream 
was found on the milk, curds would not " make," 
cows dried up, or only gave blood. Worms were 
bred in the beds, or even under the women's caps. 
They were black at both ends, or sometimes had two 
heads. Frogs and black beasts (des betes noires) 
haunted the paths of the bewitched persons. Fountains 
were full of insects, black pimples appeared all over 
the bodies of the afflicted persons, and lice, in such 
abundance that they had to use a broom to sweep 
them away. On the witch being threatened the sick 
person recovered. 

The trial was resumed on the 6th June, 1617. 

Marie, wife of James Gallienne .... 
deposed. . . Item ; that for nearly ten years her eldest 
daughter Eachel had been bewitched ; that, having 
unsewed her mattress, by which was some straw, f 


* (See footnote to p. 308). Some had a goat's hair intwined, others a flaxen thread. 

Mr. J. Linwood Pitts, in his pamphlet on Witchcraft in the Channel Islands, points out, 
page 6, " that the natural tendency of wool and feathers to felt and clog together, has been 
distorted, by widely different peoples, into an outward and visible sign .that occult and 
malignant influences were at work. 

+ " II y avoit de fetrain "a Guernsey- French word from the old French estraln, estraine, 
lat. strannu. See Metivier's Dictionary " Etrain." 

u 2 


something was seen lurking in the said straw, and Jean 
Le Gallez, being present, said that it looked to him 
like a black cat, and sometimes like a cock, and then 
like a mouse, and then like a rat, that it whatever 
it was hid in some wood which was in the house, 
which was immediately rummaged and moved, but no 
one knew how to capture it (ne s^urent tant faire 
que de le prendre). That her husband saw it like a 
cock, and her daughter like a mouse ; that on opening 
the mattress they found within it many spells (force 
sorcerons) and also beans with which were mingled 
black grains as if mildewed,* which beans or grains 
having been put in a porringer (une ecuelle) in 
the presence of various women who were there, it 
dissolved in their presence, and they did not know 
what became of it (cela fondit en leur presence 
et ne scurent que devint.) That the said Isabell, 
having come to the house at the end of two or 
three days, and asking for seven or nine sorts of 
things, and trying to force an entrance into the place 
where the child was lying ill, all which things were 
refused her by her husband, so she then went away, 
and her face was all cut ; and went to her 
husband and said- that she would not stay while 
Isebell Becquet was there, and she believes that she 
is a witch. 

On the 4th of July, 1617, these three women, 
Collette Dumont, widow of Jean Becquet, Marie, 
her daughter, wife of Pierre Massy, and Isebell 
Becquet, wife of Jean le Moigne, were convicted by 
the Royal Court of Guernsey of having practised 
the damnable art of sorcery, and of having thereby 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * " DCS graincs noires comme do la ncisle " (an old French word nele, from 
Latin A'igetta.)Metivier's Dictionary " Nele" 


caused the death of many persons, destroyed and 
injured much cattle, and done many other evil deeds. 
They were condemned to be tied to a stake, 
strangled, and burnt until their* bodies were totally 
consumed ; and their ashes to be scattered abroad. 
The sentence added that, previous to execution, they 
were to be put to the torture* in order to force 
them to declare the names of their accomplices. 

First, the said Collette, immediately after the said 
sentence had been rendered, and before leaving the 
Court, freely acknowledged that she was a witch, 
but would not particularise the crimes which she had 
committed ; whereupon she was conducted with the 
others to the torture-house, and, being put to the 
question, confessed that the Devil, when she was still 
young, appeared to her in the form of a cat,f in 
the parish of Torte^val, it being yet day, as she was 
returning from tending her cattle ; that he prevailed 
upon her by inviting her to revenge herself on one 
of her neighbours with whom she was on bad terms 
in consequence of some injury done to her by his 
cattle ; that on subsequent occasions, when she had 
quarrelled with anyone, he again appeared to her in 
the same form, and sometimes in that of a dog, 


* The manner in which torture was administered in Guernsey is thus described by Warburton, 
herald and antiquary, ienip. Charles II., in his Treatise on the History, Laws and Cus/oms 
of the Island of Guernsey, 1682, page 126. 

"By the law approved (Terrien, Lib. XII, Cap. 37), torture is to be used, though not upon 
slight presumption, yet where the presumptive proof is strong, and much more when the 
proof is positive, and there wants only the confession of the party accused. Yet this 
practice of torturing does not appear to have been used in the Island for some ages, except 
in the case of witches, when it was too frequently applied, near a century since. The 
custom then was, when any person was supposed guilty of sorcery or witchcraft, they carried 
them to a place in the town called La Tour Beauregard, and there, tying their hands 
behind them by the two thumbs, drew them to a certain heightj with an engine made for 
that purpose, by which means sometimes their shoulders wer-i turned round, and sometimes 
their thumbs torn off ; but this fancy of witches has for some years been laid aside." 

+ Mary Osgood, one of the " Salem Witches " tried in 1692, confessed that " when in a 
melancholy condition she saw the appearance of a cat at the end of the house, which cat 
proved to be the JDevil himself. See Demotiology and Devil-Lore, Vol. II., p. 315. 


inducing her to revenge herself against those with 
whom she was displeased, and persuading her to 
cause the death of men and beasts ; that the Devil 
having come to invite her to the Sabbath, called her, 
without its being perceived by others, and gave her 
a certain black ointment,* with which, having stripped, 
she rubbed her body nearly all over, and, having 
dressed herself a,gain and gone out of doors, she was 
immediately carried through the air with great velocity 
to the place where the Sabbath was held, which 
was sometimes near the Torteval parish churchyard, 
and sometimes on the sea-shore near Rocquaine 
Castle ; that, being arrived there, she met frequently 
as many as fifteen or sixteen wizards and witches, 
with devils, who were there in the form of dogs, 
cats, and hares ; that she could not recognise the 
wizards and witches, because they were all blackened 
and disfigured, although she heard the Devil evoke 
them by name, and remembers among others, the 
wives Calais and Hardy. She confesses also that at 
the opening of the Sabbath, the Devil, in making 
the evocation, began sometimes by her name ; that 
her daughter Marie, wife of Massy, at present under 
condemnation for the same crime, is a witch, and 
that she has taken her twice to the Sabbath with 
her. She does not know where the Devil has 
marked her. She says that at the Sabbath they 
adored the Devil, who stood upon his hind legs . . . 
in the form of a dog, that afterwards they danced 
back to back, and after having danced they drank 
wine, but of what colour she does not know, which 

* The Witches' Sabbath being a travesty of all Christian holy rites and 
ceremonies, the " black ointment " evidently represented the chrism. 




the Devil poured out of a flagon into a silver or 
pewter goblet ; but that the wine did not seem so 
good as that which is usually drunk, that they 
also ate white bread, which the Devil presented to 
them, but that she has never seen any salt* at the 

She confesses that the Devil had charged her to 
call in on her way for Isebell Le Moigne, when she 
went to the Sabbath, and that she has done so 
several times ; that on leaving the Sabbath the Devil 
invited her to perpetrate many evils, and that, for 
this purpose he gave her certain black powders, which 
he ordered her to throw on such persons and beasts 
as she pleased ; and that with this powder she did 
much evil, which she cannot now call to mind, but 
she remembers that she threw some over Mr. Dolbel, 
the minister of the parish, and by this means was the 
cause of his death. With the same powder she 
bewitched the wife of Jean Mangues, but denies that 
her death was caused by it. She says that she 
touched the side, and threw some of this powder on 
the wife,f since deceased, of Mr. Perchard, who 
succeeded Mr. Dolbel as minister of the parish, 
thereby causing her death and that of her unborn 
babe. She cannot say what offence the deceased had 
given her. She says that on the refusal of Collas 
Tostevin's wife to give her some milk, she caused 
her cow to run dry by throwing some of the powder 


* " It is an example of the completeness and consistency with which a theory may organise 
its myth, that the fatal demons are generally represented as abhorring salt, the preserving 
agent against decay .... The Devil, as heir of death-demons, appears in all European 
folk-lore as a hater of salt." Demonology and Devil-Lore, by Moncure Conway, Vol. I., 
p. 288. 

+ Susanne de Quetteville, daughter of Jehannet de Quetteville and his wife Colliche de 
Sausmarez, was born in 1586, married the Rev. Jean _Perchard in 1611, and died in 1612. 


over it, but that she cured the cow afterwards by 
giving it bran mixed with grass, which the Devil 
had given her, to eat. 

The confession of her daughter Marie, wife of 
Pierre Massy, is much to the same effect, with 
this exception, that she seems to have been in the 
habit of meeting the Devil in the form of a dog, 
and that he changed her into an animal of the same 
species at the time of their interviews. 

The third of these unfortunate wretches, Isebell, 
wife of Jean Le Moigne, enters, in her confession, 
into some additional details. 

It was in the semblance of a hare, and in broad 
daylight, that the Devil appeared to her for the first 
time, and incited her to avenge herself on her sister- 
in-law, La Girarde, with whom she had quarrelled. 
At first she resisted the tempter, but he appeared to 
her a second time, again in the road next her house, 
and on this occasion left with her a packet of black 
powder, which she kept. A third time the demon 
appeared, in the same form, urging her, if she would 
not give herself to him, to make him a present of 
some living animal, whereupon she gave him a chicken, 
and he appointed her to meet him the next day 
before sunrise at the Sabbath, promising to send 
someone to guide her there. Accordingly old Collette 
Dumont came that night to her house, and gave her 
some black ointment, with which she rubbed herself. 
She was then carried over hedges and ditches to the 
place of meeting near Kocquaine Castle. She was 
received and welcomed by the Devil in the form 
of a dog, with long erect horns (avec de grandes 
cornes dressees en hautt), and hands like those of a 
man. He caused her to go down on her knees and 


renounce the Almighty in these words : "I deny God 
the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy 
Ghost." (" Je renie Dieu le Pere, Dieu le Fils, et 
Dieu le Saint Esprit "). After this, she was made to 
adore the Devil and invoke him in these terms : 
" Our great Master, help us ! ' (" Nostre grand 
Maistre, aide nous ! ") and also to enter into an 
express covenant to adhere to his service. At the 
conclusion of this ceremony, the same acts of license, 
dancing and drinking (again bread and wine in 
mockery of the Holy Sacrament), took place as are 
described by Collette Dumont, widow Becquet, in 
her confession. On this occasion Isebell Le Moigne 
entered into a pact with Satan for one month only ; 
but subsequently the agreement was extended to 
three years. She stated that Satan treated Collette 
Dumont with marked respect, always evoking her 
name first, styling her "Madame, la vieille Becquette," 
and giving her a place by his side. She also said that 
one night, when she was at the Sabbath, the Devil 
marked her on the thigh. The mark thus made having 
been examined by women appointed for that purpose, 
they certified that they had thrust pins deep into it, 
and that Isebell felt no pain therefrom, nor did any 
blood follow when the pins were withdrawn. 

According to her account, the Devil appeared 
occasionally in the form of a he-goat, and when 
they took leave of him, they all had to kiss him, 
that he inquired of them when they would return, 
and exhorted them to adhere to him and do all the 
evil in their power. He then took them all by the 
hand and they departed in different directions. She 
asserted also that it was the Devil who had been 
seen in the forms of a rat and a stoat in the 


house of James Gallienne, whose child she had 
bewitched ; that she was in the neighbourhood of the 
house at the time ; and that the Devil, having 
resumed the form of a man, came to her and beat 
her severely about the head and face, which ill- 
treatment she attributed to her having refused to go 
with him to Gallienne's house. She said that she 
never went to the Sabbath except when her husband 
was gone out to sea for the night, fishing. 

The depositions of the witnesses, taken down very 
minutely in the three cases above cited and in many 
others of a similar nature, have been preserved, and 
throw a good deal of light on the popular ideas of 
the day in respect to sorcerers and their doings. 


There are some families in Guernsey whose members 
have the reputation of being sorcerers from their birth. 
These individuals require no initiation into the diabolic 
mysteries of the " Sabbat," Satan claiming them as 
his own from the very cradle. They are, however, 
furnished by him with a familiar, generally in the 
shape of a fly, so that the phrase " avoir une mouque" 
is well understood as meaning that the person of 
whom it is said is one of the infernal fraternity. 
Indeed, in talking of persons who are addicted to 
magical arts, it is reckoned highly imprudent to 
speak of them as " sor tiers" or " sor cures" or to 
call them by the now almost-forgotten name of 
" Queraud." * By so doing you give offence, and, 

* Mr. Metivier derives this word " queraud/' meaning enchanter, or " maitre 
sorcier," from the old French charay, caral, meaning magical type or letter. 
" In dog Latin Caraco was the writer or engraver of occult characters, and in 
the old French version of " Le Roman du Lancelot du Lac " it says that 
" Morgain, la seur au Roi Artur, sceut des enchantements et des 
plus q^e nulle femme," 


what is of still jnore consequence, you put it in their 
power to injure you. It is, however, quite safe to 
speak of them as "gens du Vendredi," * or "gens 
du hoc." f 

Satan does not always wait for their death to claim 
their souls as his own, but sometimes carries them 
off bodily ; and a former schoolmaster of the Vale, 
who, from his eccentricities, had acquired the reputation 
of being a wizard, having disappeared mysteriously, 
and having never been seen again, is commonly 
believed, to this day, to have been spirited away. 

Those who are born sorcerers have the faculty of 
transporting themselves at will wherever they please, 
but those who seek admission into the fraternity, and 
are initiated into the diabolical rites, are furnished by 
their infernal master with a certain ointment with 
which they anoint every part of their bodies before 
undertaking their aerial journeys. They are also 
supposed to be able to introduce themselves at 
night through the chinks and crevices of the 
buildings into the sheds in which the cattle 
are housed, for the purpose of milking the cows, 
not only thus depriving the owner of his property, 
but also worrying and alarming the poor animals, 
whose altered looks in the morning shew the ill- 
treatment to which they have been subjected. An 
old horse-shoe nailed on the door or lintel, or a 

* Friday nights being always the nights appointed for the " Sabbat." 

t Mr. Metivier translates this word Hoc as the great feast given by the 
enemy of mankind to his familiars, the wizards and witches. Like most of 
the words and customs connected with witchcraft it had originally a sacred 
meaning, for he says that the Hebrew word in the seventh verse of the second 
Psalm, translated " the decree " is " the Hoc," and means : The law imposed 
by a King on his subjects from which there is no appeal. 


naturally pierced flintstone pebble attached to the 
key of the stable door, are both considered efficacious 
in warding off these attacks but an infallible method 
of driving off. the . witches is to suspend wreaths of 
the bramble from the rafters. Witches and wizards 
travelling, not on land, but through the air, finding 
these unexpected obstacles in their way, get scratched.* 

After having rubbed themselves over with this 
ointment they are then instructed to pronounce 
without intermission the words " Roule, roule, par 
dessus ronces et buissons." ("Roll, roll, above brambles 
and brakes "). 

This was discovered in the following manner : A 
prying valet, who lived in the service of a gentleman 
who was a wizard, of which fact he was nevertheless 
ignorant, was one day amusing himself by peeping 
through the key-hole of his master's bed chamber. 
He observed his master make use of the ointment, 
and heard distinctly the words which he pronounced, 
immediately after which he became invisible. Wishing 
to try the effect of the unguent on his own person, 
he entered the room, and went through the process 
of anointment, but when he came to pronounce the 
magic formula, he made use of the word " dessous " 
instead of "dessus" ("under" instead of "over.") 
Perhaps he was an Englishman, to whom the 
French "u" was an insurmountable difficulty. 
Be this as it may, he had reason to repent 
bitterly of his indiscreet curiosity, for, no sooner 
were the words out of his mouth, than he felt 
himself lifted up, and carried at a fearful rate through 
furze brakes and bramble hedges, while at the same 

* From George Allez, Esq. 


time he had the mortification to see his master 
gliding along through the air, several feet above the 
bushes, and laughing heartily at his misfortunes. At 
last, dreadfully scratched and torn, and more dead 
than alive, he arrived at the spot where the infernal 
troops had their rendezvous, but was too much 
frightened to notice what took place there, only too 
happy to escape without being forced, against his will, 
to enrol himself among them. His curiosity, however, 
was effectually cured, and he vowed nevermore to 
pry into his master's secrets.* 

The following is another instance of the use of 
this infernal ointment. It is related that a lady of 
St. Pierre-du-Bois was astonished at the long time 
her husband remained in his private apartment, and 
her curiosity at last induced her to watch him. 
Accordingly she one day concealed herself in the 
room. Her husband came in shortly afterwards, and, 
after stripping off all his clothes, proceeded to anoint 
himself from head to foot with a certain ointment, 
after which he repeated the words " va et vient " ("go 
and come "), and immediately disappeared. Anxious 
to know whither he was gone, she went through the 
same ceremony, and no sooner had she repeated the 

* From Miss Elizabeth Chepmell. 


' A very similar story is told in M. Paul Sebillot's Traditions el Superstitions de la Haute 
Bretagne, Tome I., p. 277. 

" Une femme avait deux enfants, quand ellej les avait couches, elle sortait, et ils ne la 
revoyaient que de matin. Un des enfants, qui comment-ait a etre grand, fit mine de 
s'endormir, il vit sa mere aller sous le lit, se mettre toute nue, et se frotter d'onguent, puis 
dire, avant de partir : 

" Par sur haies et buchons (buissons) Faut que je trouve les autres ou qu'ils sont." 
Le gars, des que sa mere fut partir, se frotta aussi avec 1'onguent et dit : " Par en travers 
haies et buchons. Faut que je trouve les autres ou qu'ils sont." Mais, comme il s'etait 
trompe en repetant ce qu'il avait oui dire, il passa a ttavers les ronces et les haies, et arriva 
tout sanglant au rendezvous des sorciers. II les trouva qui dansaient, et qui chantaient, et 
sa mere etait avec eux." 


336 GVERtfatt &OL&-LORE. 

mysterious words than she found herself on the 
summit of Pleininont, in the midst of a large 
concourse of people. A table was set out, covered 
with a variety of viands of which some present 
invited her courteously to partake. Previously, 
however, to touching anything, she, like a good 
Christian, repeated aloud the words " Au nom de 
Dieu soit, Amen, ("In the name of God, Amen"). No 
sooner had the sacred name passed her lips than she 
found herself alone. All had disappeared, and the 
only signs which remained of any living beings having 
been on the spot besides herself were recent marks of 
cloven feet indented on the sward in every direction. 


There is a story told of two men who- were 
neighbours and inhabitants of the parish of St. 
Saviour's, that their occupation that of quarrymen 
took them frequently to the Yale parish, where the 
finest qualities of granite are to be procured. The 
distance they had to traverse before arriving at their 
destination was considerable, and the road in some 
places, rather lonely. 

Leonard Sarre, who was of a companionable nature, 
thought that the tediousness of the way would be 
considerably lessened by having someone to talk to, 
even if it were only his fellow workman, Matthew 
Tostevin, whose taciturnity and reserve were proverbial. 
Often, when setting off in the early morning to go to 
his work, he would, as he passed Tostevin's door, 
look in and offer his company. The answer was 
invariably the same : 

" Go on, I shall be there as soon as you, though 
I shall not leave home for an hour to come." 


When Sarre arrived at the quarry where they 
worked he was frequently astounded at finding 
Tostevin already there. The way which Sarre took 
was the 'very shortest and most direct. He was 
confident that Tostevin could not pass without his 
perceiving him, and any other road would entail at 
least half-an-hour's extra walking to accomplish. 
There was evidently a mystery, and Leonard was 
resolved to fathom it. 

At last, in answer to his repeated enquiries, Matthew 
told him that he was willing to let him into the 
secret. He bade him place his foot on one of his, 
clasp him tightly round the waist, shut his eyes 
closely, and, above all, on no account whatever, to 
utter a word. 

Leonard Sarre did as he was directed, and 
immediately felt himself lifted into the air and carried 
along at a fearful rate. In his fright he forgot the 
injunctions that had been given him, opened his eyes, 
and, finding himself far above the earth, cried out in 
terror " O, mon Dieu ! " The holy name dissolved 
the unhallowed spell, at least so far as poor Leonard 
was concerned. He fell ; fortunately it was into one 
of the most boggy spots of La Grand' Mare, so he 
escaped with a few scratches and bruises, a thorough 
ducking, and a tremendous fright. What became of 
Matthew Tostevin is not known. 

It was not until many years had rolled over his 
head that Leonard Sarre ventured to relate his 
perilous adventure, and then Tostevin had long been 

* From John De Garis, Esq. 


338 GttERttSE? FOLR.LORE. 


The barren and rugged hill of Catiauroc, situated 
near the sea-shore in the parish of St. Saviour's, is 
the noted and favourite haunt of wizards and witches. 
Once every week on the Friday night they resort 
thither, and grand assemblies, at which their infernal 
master presides in person, are held at other seasons, 
particularly on St. Thomas', or the longest night, and 
on the eve of Christmas. 

Though the power of sorcerers in doing harm is 
very great, yet they themselves are subject to all 
the accidents and infirmities of life, nor can their 
supernatural skill extricate them from any difficulty 
they may chance to get into. 

A countrywoman left her cottage one morning at 
daybreak to look after her cows. In passing through 
a furze brake that led to the meadow she thought 
she perceived, by the yet imperfect light, what 
appeared to her a bundle of clothes thrown on the 
top of a hedge. On approaching nearer she was 
astonished to recognise a lady from the town, whose 
dress was so entangled in the brambles that it was 
impossible for her to extricate herself, or to descend 
from her elevated situation, and who was so exhausted 
that she had scarcely sufficient strength left to beg for 
assistance. It immediately occurred to her, that the 
lady in her aerial journey to the Catiauroc that night 
had kept too close to the earth, and thus had been 
caught by the bushes, but, remembering that there 
are some persons with whom it is' better to be 
friends than enemies, she immediately drew near and 
assisted the lady to descend, at the same time 
expressing her surprise at seeing her in such a 


singular position, and begging her to walk into her 
cottage and rest herself. 

" No," said the lady, thanking her, " I must now 
make the best of my way home. Mention to no 
living creature what you have seen this day, and all 
will go well with you, but bitterly will you repent 
your folly if you disobey this injunction." 

She then left the countrywoman. It is not easy 
for a man to keep a secret from his wife, but it is 
almost impossible for a woman to conceal anything 
from her husband. 

The secret weighed on the poor woman's heart and 
rendered her miserable, till at last she flattered herself 
she had discovered an expedient by which she might 
ease her mind without disobeying the commands put 
upon her. She therefore one morning desired her 
husband to follow her into the garden and stand at 
some little distance from her. She then addressed 
herself to a tree, and related to this inanimate object 
what she had seen, but the secret of course reached, 
as was intended, the ears of her husband. The 
subterfuge availed her nothing ; before the close of 
day she was struck with deafness, and never, to her 
dying day, did she recover her hearing. 

The old woman of the Castel, who related this 
story to Miss Lane, said that the woman was her 
great-aunt, and remembered having seen her when 
very young. 

Stories very similar in their general features to the 
preceding are far from uncommon in the country, and 
in all the sorceress is represented as a lady of rank. 

A countryman met a lady entangled in the brambles 
on the top of a hedge. He disengaged her, and was 
promised that as long as he kept the secret he 

w 2 


should find every morning, under a stone which she 
pointed out to him, a piece of money.* 


" O Faustus, lay that damned book aside 
And gaze not on it, lest it tempt thy soul, 
And heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head ! 
Read, read the Scriptures: that is blasphemy." 

Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe. 

Many persons, although not absolutely considered as 
wizards, are looked upon with no favourable eye from 
their supposed possession of books relating to the 
black art, by the study of which they are thought to 
be able to control the elements, to produce strange 
effects either for good or bad on the bodies of man 
and beast, to discover hidden secrets, treasure, etc. 

These books are generally known by the name of 
Albins, probably derived from that famous professor 
of magic, Albertus Magnus, many of whose formulas 
for raising the Devil, etc., they are said to contain. 

They are also called " Le Grammaille" or "Grand- 
Mele" f -and a distinction is made between the 
Grand-Mele and the Petit-Mele. 

Among the effects which the possessors of these 
books are said to be able to produce is that of 
causing persons to walk in their sleep, and to direct 
their steps towards any point to which the dabbler 
in magic may wish them to go, but in order to 

* From Miss E. Chepmell. 

t Mr. Metivier in his dictionary translates Grand-Mele as Grimoire, or the 
book by which sorcerers pretend to raise the dead, being derived from the old 
Norse word grima, a spectre, a witch, a word which is, he says, also the 
origin of " grimace." The Grand-Mele of the Guernsey folk was literally the 
big\ book, just as the Petit-Mele was the little book, Afele being nothing but a 
survival of the Gothic Meli?*. writing, discourse, or song. Also A/nY, with the 
Norsemen, as Veda with the Hindoos, and as Scripture with us, was simply 
the collective name of all the holy books. 


accomplish this, it is necessary that he should have 
previously drawn blood from the person on whom he 
intends to practise his unlawful art. So small a 
quantity however as that produced by the scratch of 
a pin is amply sufficient for the purpose. 

These books are said to be indestructible. If thrown 
on the fire they remain unconsumed, if sunk in the sea, 
or buried in the earth, they will be found again the 
next day in the cupboard or chest from whence they 

were taken.* 


The small islet of Lihou lies on the western coast 
of Guernsey, from which it is separated by an arm of 
the sea. An ancient causeway, which is uncovered at 
half-tide, affords an easy access to the main-land, but 
it is dangerous to attempt the passage when the tide 
is flowing, for the coast is so flat that the water 
rises with great rapidity, and many accidents have 
occurred. A church, the ruins of which are still to 
be seen, existed here until the Reformation. It was 

* From Elizabeth Matthieu. 


Nowadays the people, in speaking of the " bad books " as they frequently terra them, 
call them the "Grand Albert" and the "Petit Albert," the former being undoubtedly 
derived from " Albertus Magnus." The "Petit Albert" is an abridgment of the larger book, 
and is supposed to be comparatively harmless, and, with proper precautions, some say it may 
even be used by good Christians. The country people to this day believe these books to be 
imperishable, and many is the tale they tell of how they will neither drown, nor burn, and how 
in particular, one old wizard's books at Saints' Bay had to be buried, and part of the funeral 
service read over them, to keep them from reappearing on their accustomed shelf. 

Our old nurse, Margaret Mauger, has often told me the story of the books belonging to an 
extremely clever old gentleman who owned an estate in the country. At his death, when his 
daughters came to divide his large library, they were horrified to find many "witch books" 
and atheistical books included in it. These they set aside to be burnt, and also a great many 
harmless but dull histories, biographies, and sermons, which they did not wish to keep, and 
made one huge bonfire. But (and it was one of the daughters who vouched for the truth of 
this story) the good books would not burn with the bad books ! A f-ightful smell arose, and 
thick columns of black smoke, but none were consumed, and they all had to be re-sorted, and 
made into two separate piles, the sheep and the goats and then they all burnt readily 
enough. From Margaret Mauger. 

" In Denmark and some neighbouring countries it is believed that a strange and formidable 
book exists, by means of which you can raise or lay the Devil called the Book of Cyprianus. 
The owner of it can neither sell, bury or burn it, and if he cannot get rid of it before his 
death he becomes the prey of the fiend." Dem^nolosy and Dzvil-Lore, by Moncure Conway, 

Vol. 2., p. 28. 



dedicated to Notre Dame de la Boche, and was 
served by a prior, who was appointed by the Prior 
of St. Michel du Valle, a dependency of the great 
Abbey of Mont St. Michel-au-peril-de-la-Mer, in the 
Bay of Avranches. The isle is to this day looked 
upon with such veneration by the Norman and 
Breton sailors employed in the coasting trade, that 
they never pass it without saluting, by lowering 
their topmasts, and there is reason to believe that it 
was a favourite resort of pilgrims. A house belonging 
to a family of the name of Lenfestey, and situated 
at Les Adams, is said to have been, in former days, 
the residence of the priest who officiated at Lihou. 
A free-stone let into one of the exterior walls has a 
rough delineation of a church incised on it, which is 
said to represent the Priory Church of Lihou as it 
formerly existed.* 











Stone supposed to represent the ancient Priory at Lihou. 


* Mr S Carey Curtis, who is an architect, has made some very interesting plans of the 
ruins of Lihou Priory,' and has "shown their correspondence with the architecture of the 
building depicted on this stone. I will quote his exact words :- 

" There is built into the wall of a house, on the Paysans Road, a sculptured stone, which 
corresponds so exactly with what might have been the Chapel of Lihou that I have, on the 
plan restored the chapel on those lines. All the principal features work in exactly, the tower, 


A few years ago the remains of a skeleton were 
discovered in sinking a well on the property, to 
which a certain number of houses in the neighbourhood 
have a right of resorting for water. Many persons 
who have gone to draw water at night have heard 
groans, thrice repeated, as if from a person expiring, 
and these have generally been followed by the death 
of some near relation of the hearer. Three days 
after Mrs. Savidan heard the groans, a boat, in 
which were two of her relations named Le Cras, was 
capsized in a storm and both perished.* 

Notwithstanding the sanctity of the place, however, 
the old proverb of "The nearer the church, the 
farther from God," might at one time have been applied 
to it, for it is related of one of the priors that he 
was addicted to the black art. Neither the fear of 
God, nor the censures of the church, could wean 
him from the fascinating study of magic, and the 
Grand-Mele was far oftener in his hands than the 
Bible or breviary. But wizards, it is well known, 
have often been the victims of their own art, and 
so it chanced with the profane Prior of Lihou. 

One morning, taking advantage of the receding tide, 
he crossed over to Guernsey to seek an interview with 

the windows, the roof, etc., all except the door, of which there is positively no trace; but 
possibly, in view of the various coats of paint on the stone, it is merely a fancy of one of the 
many artists who have retouched it. Of the ruins which remain there is sufficient to show 
what its measurements once were. Of the tower, about twelve feet is still standing, a large 
portion of the north wall, and several smaller pieces ; these all show that it consisted of a 
nave about thirty-four by twenty -three feet inside measurement, and a choir or sanctuary about 
thirty-four by twenty feet. There is enough of the north wall still standing to shew where the 
spring of the vaulting began, and thus, approximately, the height of the walls and roof. The 
corner of the chancel arch pier is a Caen stone, with a plain beading on it ; there is also 
trace of a porphyry column on the south side of the sanctuary, and under the site of the 
altar is a paving of Malachite green and buff tiles, some of which still remain ; they measure 
six and a quarter inches square and were laid alternately." 

The lettering has been explained as standing for " H . . . Dominus Lihou Mel," " H . . . 
priest of Lihou Mel, (as Lihou was called in ancient times) in 1114." 

* From Mrs. Savidan. 


another adept in necromancy, the priest of the neigh- 
bouring Chapel of Ste. Apolline. He was accompanied 
by his servant, to whom he had entrusted a ponderous 
tome, containing the formulas by which he performed 
his incantations, and to whom he had given strict 
orders on no account to open the volume or read a 
word which it contained. 

The visit over, the prior prepared to return to his 
convent, and walked along leisurely, knowing as it was 
then spring tide that two or three hours must elapse 
before the returning waves could bar the passage to 
the islet. The servant lingered behind, and when he 
arrived on the beach found his master already half 
way over. His curiosity had been vividly excited by 
the repeated injunctions of his master that he should 
abstain carefully from opening the book. He began 
to think that it must contain something very won- 
derful, and that, as but few minutes must elapse 
before their arrival at the convent, when the 
mysterious volume would, without doubt, be instantly 
demanded by the prior, if he did not seize this 
opportunity of acquainting himself with its contents, 
no other occasion might ever present itself. He 
yielded to the temptation, opened the book, and began 
to read. The prior by this time had arrived at 
about the middle of the causeway, and was astonished 
to find the tide rising rapidly and threatening to cut 
off his further progress, either backwards or forwards. 
He felt that some unnatural agency was at work, and, 
guessing how matters stood, looked back to the shore 
which he had just left, and saw his faithless servant 
comfortably seated on a heap of dried sea-weed, with 
the fatal volume spread open on his knees. He was 
reading aloud, and the prior caught enough of the 


words to know that his attendant had hit upon the 
spell which causes the tides to rise out of their usual 
course, and, moreover, that he was reading most 

In great fright he called out to the man to read 
on quickly to the end, as he knew that then the 
waves would stop and return to their proper limits. 
The servant was too much absorbed in his reading 
to pay any attention to the directions given him, 
and the waves had by this time reached above the 
prior's waist. In mortal agony he called out for the 
second time : 

"If thou canst not read forwards, read backwards!" 
The roaring waves this time effectually drowned 
his voice. The servant read on, but long before he 
had arrived at the end of the incantation, the sea 
had covered the profane priest, and the demon whom 
the magic lines had evoked carried off his prey.* 

* From Dr. Lukis, to whom the story was told by an old woman at 1'Eree. 


A somewhat similar story was told me in 1896 by Mrs. Le Patourel, who had heard it 
from her mother-in-law. A schoolmaster, either at St. Pierre-du-Bois or at Torteval, was 
given to witchcraft, and owned one of these "bad books." H.3 took it one day to his scho >1 
and, by an oversight, left it on his desk. It was a lovely day, and, impatient to be out, he 
omitted to lock it up, and hurried home to get his dinner. Whilst in the middle of eating 
it, quite suddenly a terrific storm came on, such thunder and lightning as had never before 
been seen in the country, and was most unaccountable in such a hitherto lovely weather. 
It seemed to be at its worst just over the school. Terrified, remembering the book he had 
left there, he rushed back and there he found one of the boys reading this book out loud. 
He snatched the book from his hand, and asked him to show him where he had begun, and 
where he had read to, and then began at once to rea I back-wards from where the boy had 
left off. As he read, the storm began to lull, and when he reached the place where the boy 
had begun to read, the storm had stopped as suddenly as it begun. (This is possibly another 
version of the story of " Satan and the Schoolmaster," related in the chapter on the Devil.) 

Airs. Le Patourel also knew a man who had once owned a " Grand Albert" and used it, 
and, repenting, tried to burn it, but it is well known that if you have once used one of 
these books you can never rid yourself of it, try as you will. He heated his oven red hot, 
and put the book within it. Two minutes afterwards he looked up and saw the book, unsinged 
even, in its old place on the dresser. My cousin Miss Le Pelley sends ms a story told her 
by an old servant Judy Ozanne, how some very religious people, going into a house found a 
" Grand Albrrt" on the poutre (the centre beam) in the kitchen, so they threw it into the 
fire, but in vain, for " it went back to its old place and stayed there ! " 



We all know how dangerous it is to possess books 
which treat of the arts of magic and sorcery, or to 
tamper in any way with these forbidden practices. 

It came to the ears of a former rector of St. Pierre- 
du-Bois or Torteval, that one of his parishioners, of 
the name of Sarre, not only owned such books, but 
was in the habit of reading and studying them. 
Indeed, if there was any truth in public rumour, 
many of Sarre 's neighbours had been sufferers from the 
improper use he made of the knowledge thus unlaw- 
fully acquired. The good rector thought it his duty to 
remonstrate with his parishioner, and to point out to 
him the sinfulness of his conduct, and the danger he 
was incurring of forfeiting both body and soul to the 
Prince of Darkness ; but all his good advice was, for 
a long time, treated with contempt. At last, what 
the rector's charitable remonstrances had been unable 
to effect was brought about by Sarre's own fears. 
The presence of a large black cat, which followed 
him wherever he went, and was with him night and 
day, began to alarm him. It was useless to attempt 
to drive the beast away; it cared neither for threats 
nor blows. In short Sarre began to be seriously 
alarmed lest his assiduous study of the forbidden 
volumes should, at last, have brought, if not Satan, 
at least one of his familiars, to dog his steps 
continually, and to watch an opportunity of seizing 
on his prey. 

Under these circumstances he thought it most 
prudent to get rid of the books, and, with this 
intent, went one night to the extreme verge of low- 
water mark at spring-tides, dug a hole in the sand, 
and buried the accursed volumes. The rising tide 


soon covered the spot, and Sarre returned home with 
his mind at ease. His feeling of security was not 
destined to be of long duration, for, on entering his 
door, he was met by the black cat, who, erecting 
his tail, and rubbing himself against his master's legs, 
manifested his joy at seeing him again. The next 
object that his eyes rested on were the books he 
had just buried, carefully placed on their accustomed 
shelf, and as dry as if they had never left it. A 
profound melancholy seized him ; he ceased to occupy 
himself in his usual avocations, and wandered about 
the cliffs and sea-shore in a disconsolate state, till, 
at last, he disappeared. Those who were charitably 
disposed, surmised that, in his despair, he had thrown 
himself over one of the lofty precipices of Pleinmont 
into the sea, but there were not wanting others 
who suggested that the master, into whose service 
he had entered, had at last claimed his own, and 
carried him off bodily.* 


A certain man of the name of Robin, who lived 
near Les Capelles, in the parish of St. Sampson's, had 
risen from being a day labourer to be the possessor 
of what, in Guernsey, passes for a considerable landed 
estate. Riches are sure to create envy, and more 
particularly is this the case when a man has been 
prosperous in the world and has arrived at a rank 
and station to which he was not born. The poor 
hate him because he has acquired a title to considera- 
tion, which his origin, as humble as their own, can 
never confer. The rich pretend to despise him because 

* From Mrs, W. T, Ceilings, wife of the late Seigneur of Sark, 


he is wanting in the accidental circumstance of birth. 
All concur in attributing his success in life to luck, 
to want of honesty, to anything but intelligence, 
industry, and good conduct. It will not, therefore, be 
thought surprising if calumny was busy at work to 
blacken the character of one, who, like Eobin, had 
been so fortunate in his undertakings. He was openly 
spoken of by his neighbours as being addicted to 

It was well known that he possessed the art of taming 
the most refractory bulls, and it therefore followed as 
a matter of course that he had also the power of 
bewitching other cattle. Sometimes, when a cow 
was sick, and all the usual nostrums of the village 
farrier had failed in effecting a cure, recourse was 
had, as a last resort, to Robin, who was generally 
successful. What conclusion was more natural, than 
that he, who could so easily remove a malady, had 
also the power of inflicting it ? Besides, it was 
whispered about by some of those who contrive to 
be well informed of all that passes, even in the 
most secret recesses of their neighbours' houses, that 
Robin would sit for hours together, shut up in his 
private room, with a pack of cards before him, with 
which he appeared to be playing some game. 
No adversary was seen, but what game can be played 
by one man alone ? It was clear to the most obtuse 
that another was present, although invisible to mortal 
eye, and who could this be but the great enemy of 
human souls ? 

At last old age came on ; Robin became more and 
more infirm, and was at last confined to his bed. 
During his illness his attendants were much annoyed 
by the continual creaking and cracking of an ancient 


oaken press, which stood in the corner of the room, 
and which he would not allow them on any account 
to open or meddle with. Of course they all thought 
that this chest contained untold gold, for he was 
known to be extremely avaricious in fact he was 
one of those " who would cut a double* in two" as 
the saying is. He was frightfully hard on all his 
workmen, exacting ever}'' moment of their time. So far 
did he carry this, that it is said he only allowed them 
five minutes to take their noon-day meal, which, accord- 
ing to the universal custom at that time, was furnished 
by the employer, and eaten at his table. It was 
commonly believed that one source of his wealth was 
the discovery of a buried treasure in one of his 
fields. There was a well on his property which was 
intermittent, at times overflowing, and at others not 
having above an inch or so of water in it. It was 
supposed to conceal a treasure, and a man was sent 
down to examine it, but no sooner had he begun to 
bale out the water than it returned with such 
violence that he was obliged to be drawn up to avoid 
drowning. When Eobin was dying, his son urged 
him to give something to the poor, but his constant 
answer was : 

" Je rfen counis poumt." ("I do not know any.") 
His last hour was, however, rapidly approaching, 
and he desired the press to be opened, and certain 
books which it contained to be thrown on the hearth 
where a large fire was blazing. His orders were 
obeyed, but, to the great astonishment of the servants 
and attendants, instead of being consumed in the 

* A double is the smallest copper coin in Guernsey currency, value one-eighth 
of a penny. 


flames, the books extinguised the fire ! * Fresh faggots 
were, by the orders of the dying man, heaped on 
the hearth, and kindled, and, at last, the mysterious 
books, if not consumed, at least disappeared. The 
press had ceased to creak from the moment the 
books were taken out of it, and shortly afterwards 
Eobin breathed his last. 

A storm of unusual violence was raging at the 
time, but the most singular circumstance remains yet 
to be told. A crow of unusual size was seen to 
hover over the house, and finally alighted on the 
roof, and, it is said, that on the day of the funeral, 
as the corpse was leaving the house, it flew down 
and perched on the coffin. In vain did the bearers 
endeavour to drive it off ; it held its ground, and 
even when the body was lowered into the grave it 
would not quit the station which it had chosen, but 
suffered itself to be covered with the mould by the 

sexton, f 


Among the many bays with which the sea-coast of 
Guernsey is indented, few have a wilder aspect than 

EDITOR'S NOTK. * In Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute. Bretagne, Tome I., p. 304, 
M. Sebillot tells the story of a priest, who, at the request of a penitent " sorcier," tries to 
burn Le Petit Albert : " II le mit dans le foyer pour le bruler ; raais le livre sautait dans 
le feu comme s'il avait voulu en sortir. Le pretre le repoussait dans les flamraos avec sa 
canne, et il brula longtemps sans se consumer." 

t From Miss Elizabeth Chepmell, Nancy Bichard, and Rachel Duport. 


+ " In German Switzerland, a crow perching on the roof ofT a house where a corpse lies, is 
a sure sign that the dead is damned." Swainson's Folk-Lote, p. 84. 

" In Germany ravens are believed to hold the souls of the damned, sometimes to be the 
evil one himself." Idem., p. 90. " The raven was indeed, from of old endowed with the holy 
awfulness of the Christian dove in the Norse mythology. Odin was believed to have given 
this bird the colour of the night, that it might the better spy out the deeds of darkness." 
Demonology and DeviULore, by Conway, Vol. 2., p. 368. 

Caubo = ' Sic Armorici Coet-Bo = La Baie du Bois, Sinus Sylvestris, il y 
a une Coet Bo sur la cote du Bretagne." MS. note by Mr. Metivier. 


that of Caubo ; not that it is surrounded with bold 
cliffs and precipices, like those of the southern coast, 
for, on the contrary, the sea is only prevented from 
inundating the neighbouring land by the banks of 
sand and shingle which the ever-restless waves have 
thrown up, or by the sea walls which the -industry 
of man has raised to form a barrier against them. 

Its charm consists in the wildness of its scenery * 
the rugged promontory of "La Boque du Guet," 
surmounted by an old watch-house and battery to 
to the south; the point of land known as " Les 
Grandes Eoques," with its outlying reefs, the scene 
of many a wreck, to the north ; the chain of rocks 
stretching right across the bay to the westward, and 
seeming to bar all access to the land. All this, 
whether seen when, with a westerly wind, the heavy 
waves are sweeping in with resistless force from the 
broad Atlantic, or when, on a calm summer's day, 
the sun's rays " like light dissolved in star-showers " 
pour down on the brilliantly blue water, from which 
the innumerable jagged peaks arise, from any of 
which one might expect to "have sight of Proteus 
rising from the sea, or hear old Triton blow his 
wreathed horn." The shores are alternately pic- 
turesque and rugged, or else smiling valleys of green 
fields overhung with trees, and with a few old 
thatched houses in the background, and, until lately, 
were inhabited almost exclusively by a race of poor 
hardy fishermen, to whom every passage through the 
intricate and rugged rocks of the bay are well known, 
but who are by no means exempt from the 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * It must be remembered that none of Sir Edgar's MSS. are dated later 
than 1874, and therefore that none of the greenhouses, surburban villas, and workmen's cottages 
which have so spoilt our island scenery were then built. 


superstitions that seem to attach particularly to a 
sea-faring life. 

Of late some extensive quarries have been opened 
in the hills that lie eastward of -the bay, from one of 
which the dark granite steps leading to the western 
entrance of St. Paul's Cathedral were hewn. The 
quarries have brought other labourers to reside in the 
neighbourhood," and it is from a brother of one of 
these a Cornishman that the following particulars 
have been obtained. 

The quarryrnan now in question, when he first 
determined on seeking work at Caubo, had much 
difficulty in finding a cottage to suit him ; but, at 
last, tempted by the low rent asked for one, which 
had remained untenanted for a long time, he made 
up his mind to take it. Other labourers had lived 
formerly in the house, but generally, after a short 
residence, they had left it as soon as they could find 
a decent excuse, without assigning any definite reason. 
The quarryman had not been long settled in his new 
habitation when he and his family began to be 
alarmed by strange and unaccountable noises, parti- 
cularly at night. He spoke to some of the neighbours 
on the subject, and, at last, with some difficulty 
for it was evident that there was a great unwilling- 
ness to speak on the subject, he ascertained that 
the house had the reputation of being bewitched, 
and that an old woman living in the immediate 
vicinity was commonly reported to be the cause of 
the nightly disturbances. Some of the previous tenants 
went so far as to say that on stormy nights, when 
the wind was blowing a full gale from the south-west, 
and all were gathered round the hearth, lamenting 
the sad condition of the poor mariners and fishermen 


out at sea, and praying for the safety of the shipping 
exposed to the pitiless blast, they had seen the old 
sorceress come down the chimney in a cloud of 
smoke and soot, pass through their midst, and 
vanish through the key-hole, causing all the doors 
in the cottage to slam, and leaving a villainous smell 
behind her. Other tales, no less veracious, are told 
of her. 

A woman, scrupulously clean in her person and 
attire, against whom the witch had a previous grudge, 
chanced to make use of some not very complimentary 
expressions in speaking of her, and instantaneously 
her clothes were covered with vermin of the most 
loathsome description. A neighbour, who had offended 
her, was never able, either by fair means or foul, 
to get his cattle past the witch's dwelling, but was 
obliged to take another and much longer way in 
leading them to and from their pasturage, to the 
grievous loss of his time and temper. 

Two strong horses, harnessed to the empty cart of 
another man with whom the sorceress had lately 
had a quarrel, though urged by word and whip, 
were unable to move it an inch forward. It was well 
known to all that it was by means of books of magic 
that she was enabled to perform these and still 
greater marvels ; and her brothers, good respectable 
men, who were aware of her evil deeds and ashamed 
of the disgrace her conduct brought on the family, 
finding that all their remonstrances were in vain, 
and that they could not persuade her to abandon 
her evil courses, had attempted to destroy the books, 
and so deprive her, in some degree, of her power of 
doing mischief. 

On one occasion, during her absence from home, 



they got possession of the unhallowed volumes, and, 
lighting a large fire on the hearth, placed them in 
the midst of the flames, and heaped up fuel around 
: them, until, to all appearance, they were reduced to 
a heap of ashes. 

They were rejoicing in the success of their 
undertaking, but, alas, their joy was of short 
duration. They soon found that all their labour 
had been in vain, and that they had consumed 
their fuel to no purpose ; for, chancing to cast their 
eyes on the top of an old chest of drawers which 
stood in one corner of the room, where the books, 
when not actually in use, were always to be found, 
what was their dismay to see them lying there 
uninjured and looking as if they had never been 
touched. Fire, it was clear, had no power over 
them. So they determined to try what effect the 
other elements, earth and water, might have. It 
chanced to be one of the lowest spring-tides in the 
year, so they carried the books down to dead low- 
water mark, dug a deep hole in the sand, placed 
the books in it, and watched until the flowing tide 
had covered the spot with three or four feet of 

They then returned home, and on entering the 
cottage naturally turned their eyes towards the usual 
resting-place of the books. There they were, without 
a vestige of sand on them, and as dry as bones. 
After these two attempts they gave up all hopes of 
ever getting rid of the unholy tomes ; indeed it is 
well known that there is but one method of destroying 
such books ; it is by burying them with their owner 
when death shall have delivered the world from his 
or her presence. 


It is fortunate that there are men and women who 
have the gift of counteracting the spells of wizards 
and witches ; and it so chances that not many doors 
from the house where the witch of Caubo dwelt 
there resided an old man whose knowledge enabled 
him to frustrate her evil designs, and whose services 
were readily given to those who may require them. 
These things are said to have happened as lately as 
the year 1874, and are a proof that, in some quarters 
at least, and notwithstanding the boasted enlighten- 
ment of the nineteenth century, faith in witchcraft 
is as rife as ever. Can it, however, be wondered at, 
if ignorant peasants should believe in what they 
think they have Scriptural warrant for considering an 
article of faith, when learned men and educated 
women are found ready to give in to all the delusions 
of spiritualism. 


There lived in the last century at La Ville-es-Pies, 
in that part of the parish of St. Michel-du-Valle 
known as " Le Clos," an old lady, whose maiden 
name it is not -necessary to recall any more than 
that of the really worthy man who had the misfor- 
tune to be joined with her in the bonds of wedlock. 
Suffice it to say that both belonged to respectable 
families. It was notorious, however, to all the 
neighbourhood that she was addicted to the execrable 
practice of witchcraft ; indeed she made no mystery 
of it, for she was proud of the fear she inspired, 
and clever enough to turn it to her own advantage; 

* A MS. note by Mr. Metivier explains this name by saying that this was 
an old residence of Friars, robed in black and white, and hence known as 
" Les Frires Pies," the Magpie Friars. 

x 2 


knowing well that the time was past when the 
suspicion alone of being an adept in the black art 
was sufficient to condemn a person to the stake. 

The place whither she was said to be in the 
habit of resorting to meet her infernal master, and 
to dance and revel at night with others, who, like 
herself, had entered into a league with the Prince 
of Darkness, was that group of rocks and islets near 
Herm, known by the name of " Les Houmets 

On these ^occasions she was in the habit of 
attiring herself in her very best array, and a pair of 
silver slippers formed a principal part of her 
adornment. How she came, in her nocturnal flight, 
to drop one of them, is not known, but it was 
picked up on one of these rocks by a fisherman, 
recognised as her property, and honestly returned to 
her. Perhaps the finder did not like to run the 
risk of appropriating the precious metal to his own 

It is said that, not content with serving Satan 
herself, she laid a spell on her children as soon as 
they were presented to her after their birth, and so 
consecrated them for ever to the service of her infernal 

The husband, a good pious man, by some means 
discovered this, and, when his wife was on the point 
of being delivered of her last child, a son, he begged 
the midwife in attendance to be careful, as soon 
as the child made its appearance, and before the 
unnatural mother could set eyes on it, to sign it 

* " Houmet, from the Swedish holm, is a peninsula, or a grazing ground 
down near the wter.Metivier's Dictionary. 


.with the holy sign of the cross. This precaution 
saved the infant. The unholy mother's spell had no 
power over him, and, as he grew up, he was enabled, 
by G-od's grace, and by the pious teaching of his 
father, to withstand all the temptations which were 
laid in his way by his brothers and sisters, who 
depicted to him in glowing terms the amusements 
they indulged in, when, in the form of hares, they 
frolicked on moonlight nights around the mill which 
stands on the hill around the Ville-es-Pies.* 


In ancient days, (in what reign is not mentioned), 
when the island was as yet but thinly peopled, 
and considerable tracts of country were destitute of 
habitations, a peasant and his wife, who had been 
passing the day in town, were overtaken on their 
way home by a violent storm of wind, rain, and 
thunder. They pressed forward, hoping to reach their 
cottage before night should set in, but, the storm 
increasing, they were fain to seek shelter in an old 
ruin that stood by the roadside. 

Scarcely had they entered, before they heard on 
all sides of the building the cries of " Ke-hou-hou," 
which are uttered by the sorcerers when on their 
nocturnal nights. They then . remembered that it 
was Friday, the day on which the powers 
of darkness have the most power, and that 
all the wizards and witches of the island were 
reported to hold their weekly meetings in that 
place. Ifc was too late to think of retreating, but 
they were not. yet discovered, and there were still 

* fronj Mr. Thomas_Hocart Henry. 


hopes of their escaping detection. Fear quickened 
their invention. Looking round they saw an oven, 
into which they both crept, and the woman, by 
spreading her black petticoat over the entrance, 
effectually concealed them. They had scarcely time 
to do this, before a tumultuous crowd of wizards 
entered the building. They conversed with great 
delight on all the mischief they had caused, and 
appeared to derive much pleasure from the misfortunes 
which afflicted mankind. 

One of them mentioned the illness of the King of 
England's only daughter, which the most eminent of 
physicians of the realm had been unable to cure, or 
even to discover the cause of. " Neither will they," 
said one, who appeared to be the chief, with an 
infernal laugh, " for I alone know the cause and the 

They pressed him to tell, but for a long time he 
refused. At last, wearied out by their entreaties, he 
said "A hair, which this Princess has accidentally 
swallowed, has twined itself round her heart, and, 
unless speedily removed, must cause her death. There 
is but one means of cure a piece of skin of pork 
with some of the bristles attached to it, must be 
well secured by a string. Let the Princess swallow 
this, and the hair will become entangled in the 
bristles, and may thus be drawn up." 

Shortly afterwards the meeting broke up, without a 
suspicion that their conversation had been overheard, 
and as soon as the day dawned, the countryman 
and his wife returned to town and made known their 
adventure to the authorities. A boat immediately 
set sail for England, with a messenger bound for 
the King, and the advice of the wizard being 




followed, the Princess was soon restored to health. 
A considerable sum of money was sent over as a 
present to the man and woman by whose means the 
discovery had been made, with . which they were 
enabled to buy a farm and stock it. 

The manner in which they had acquired their 
riches soon became known, and, tempted by the 
hopes of gain, a man concealed himself in the oven 
of the ruined house near the Catioroc one Friday 
night. He had not long lain there before the 
wizards entered, but before a word was uttered they 
made a strict search through the house, and soon 
discovered the trembling man, whom they obliged to 
take the oaths of allegiance to their infernal master, 
to the eternal ruin both of his soul and body.* f 


Sorcerers have the power of taking the forms of 
different animals, but when thus disguised cannot be 
wounded but by silver. 

A Mr. Le Marchant, " des grent mesons," had 
often fired at a white rabbit which frequented his 
warren, but without success. One day, however, 
beginning to suspect how the case really stood, he 

* From Miss E. Chepmell. 

* See an incident somewhat similar in Chambers' Popular Rhymes of 
Scotland, in the tale of Sir James Ramsay, of Bamff. 

See also Suzet's Veillees, Comte de Cocherard et Turquin, p. 258, 
and Folk-Lore Record, Vol. III., part I., p. 40. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. t This story is also told in Folk-Lore of Guernsey and Sark, by Louisa 
Lane-Clarke (and Edition, 1890, p. 2\). She makes certain alterations in the narrative and her 
version of the cure for the Princess is : " Jf they cut a small square of bacon from just 
over the heart, tied it to a silken thread, and made the Princess swallow it, then jerked it 
up again, the hair would stick to it, and come away from her heart, and she would recover." 

On the i6th May, 1900, the late Mrs. Murray- Aynsley read a paper on " Guernsey Folk- 
Lore," to the Folk -Lore Society of England, and she also quoted this story, evidently taken 
from Mrs, Lane-Clarke's version, only told in slightly different word,?, 



detached his silver sleeve button from his wrist-band, 
loaded his gun with it, took a steady aim, and fired. 
The rabbit immediately disappeared behind the 
hedge. He ran up, and, hearing some person 
groaning as if in great pain on the other side, 
looked over and recognised a neighbour of his, a 
lady of the Vale, who was lying with her leg 
broken and bleeding profusely from a fresh wound. 


Une histouaire du bouan 
vier temps. 

Un bouan hounie et sa 
femme avaient autefais une 
p'tite ferme es environs du 
Vazon; Collas Kousse et 
sa femme, Nency Guille, 
etaient des gens tranquilles, 
qui faisaient d' leux mux 
pour elvair leu famille, mais 
i' 1'taient r' nomaipourchan- 
gier leux forme a volontai. 

Une belle serai e d'etai 
nou vit un biau lievre dans 
1' gardin du Probytere qui 
dansait autouar d'une vaque 
qu' etait la fiquie. 

La vaque se mins a r' 
gardair le lievre 'qui toute 
suite se buti su ses do3ux 

A story of the good old 

An honest man and his 
wife had formerly a little 
farm in the neighbourhood 
of Yazon ; Collas Roussel 
and his wife, Nancy Guille, 
were quiet people, who did 
their best to bring up their 
family properly, but they 
were noted for being able to 
change their forms at will. 

One fine summer's even- 
ing people saw a fine hare in 
the rectory garden, which 
was dancing round a cow 
which was tethered there. 

The cow began to look at 
the hare, who at once rose 
up on his hind legs, gam- 

* The above Guernsey story of animal transformati >ns I found cut out and placed with 
Sir Edgar MacCulloch's MSS. in its Guernsey- French form. I think it better ' to (five both 
the Guernsey-French and its English translation, the former being the language in which 
All these old stories are handed down to us. 



pattes de derriere f aisant des 
pernagues coum si voulait 
invitair la vaque a dansair 
d'auve li. Les gens n' sa- 
vaient pas qui en craire ou 
qu'est que vela qui voulait 
dire. Ls' uns disaient que 
ch'etait Collas Rousse ou sa 
femme, d'autres pensaieufc 
q'nou f'rait mux de T tirai, 
d'autres enfin disaient que 
I'lait d'la vaque s'rait gata'i 
et q'la vaque jamais n'vau- 
drait sa tuache. 

Le lecteur, Pierre Simon, 
qui s'trouvaitla par ecanche, 
s'en fut tout doucement pres 
du lievre, 1'attrapi et s'mis 
a 1'frottai a r'brousse pel, les 
uns li criaient d'li teurtre le 
c6,T s'autres d'li rompre les 
gambes, " et pis nouverraib 
bien vite si chen 'tait pouint 
Collas Rousse ou sa femme." 
L's 'uns disaient qu'ils 
avaient vceu le lievre v'nir 
dret du Yazon, mais qu'il 
avait ieux la malice, de 
prendre un ch'min detour- 
nai, d'autres vaisins etaient 
d'avis de prendre le prumier 
lait d'la vaque et de F 
mettre a bouidre su une 
fcouane fouaie d'vrec et 

boiling as if he wished to 
invite the cow to dance with 
him. The people did not 
know what to think or what 
it could all mean. Some 
said that it was either Collas 
Roussel or his wife, others 
thought it would be better 
to fire at it, and the others 
finally said that the cow's 
milk would be spoilt and 
that she would never be 
worth slaughtering. 

The clerk, Pierre Simon, 
who was there by chance, 
crept quietly near the hare, 
caught it, and began to rub 
up its fur the wrong way. 
Some cried out to him to 
wring its neck, others to 
break its legs, "and then 
we will see very quickly 
whether it is Collas Roussel 
or his wife or no." Some 
said that they had seen the 
hare come straight from 
Vazon, but that it had had 
the artfulness to take a cir- 
cuitous route. Other neigh- 
bours advised that the first 
milk the cow should give 
after this should be taken, 
and put to boil on a good 



q'nou verrait bientot Collas 
Bouss6 et sa vieille v'nir 
d'mandai une goutte de 
lait bouailli ; c'h'tait la la 
vraie maniere d'les decou- 
vrir. Pierre Simon fut bien 
bllamai de toute la contraie 
pour ave laissi la b6te 
ecappai, mais i disait pour 
raison qu'les lievres etaient 
sujets a des maux d' tetes 
coum d'autres personnes et 
que ch'tait pour chunnaqu'il 
1'avait frotta'i. II aimait 
la soupe de lievre coum 
d'autres, mais que ch'nerait 
pas eta! bien d'sa part de 
prendre avantage d'la paure 

Le bouan vier Messier en 
palant d' 1'affaire disait : " Je 
n' voudrais pas dire du ma' 
d' personne, seit keriature 
ou cheva', mais j'ai mes 
pensa'ies au sujet de Collas 
Rouss6 et sa femme, 1'annaie 
passaie coum j'allaisr'muair 
nos be"tes de bouan matin 
qu'est que j'vis sinon daeux 
biaux lievres a roguer ma 
raie-grasse. J'fis du bruit, 
et i s'en furent couarant 
. 4'vier le Vazon, et un matin 

vraic fire, and that one 
would soon see Collas 
Eoussel and his old woman 
come and ask for a cup of 
boiled milk. That was the 
best way of finding them 
out. Pierre Simon was 
much blamed by all the 
country side for having 
allowed the beast to escape, 
but he said, as an excuse, 
that hares were subject to 
headaches as much as other 
people and it was for that 
that he had rubbed it. He 
liked hare soup as well as 
anyone, but that it would 
not have been right of him 
to take advantage of the 
poor beast. 

The good old herdsman 
in talking over the affair 
said : "I would not speak 
ill of anyone, be it creature, 
man, or horse, but I have 
my own ideas on the sub- 
ject of Collas Roussel and 
his wife. Last year as I was 
moving our cattle early in 
the morning, what should 
I see but two fine hares 
nibbling my rye grass. I 
made a noise, and they ran 
off towards Vazon ? and one 



j'mecryi " Tu devrais en 
aver honte Collas." 

Eh bien, chu jour la is'en 
furent derriere le prinseux, 
trav'sirent le belle, et, j'n' 
ments pouint, j ' ere qui pas- 
sirent par d'sous 1'us. Mais 
terjous, que j'aie tort ou 
raison, ni Collas ni sa 
femme n'ont peux me r'gar- 
dair en fache d'pis chu 

Jamais n'ou ne me fra 
craire que g'nia point bien 
de que que nous n'serait ex- 
pliquer. J'en ai oui d'bien 
des sortes d'pis m'en jane 
temps. Jai souvent oui la 
raeue du prinseux tournai a 
mignet que g'niavait fils 
d'ame par dehors ; j'ai vaeux 
not' cat aquand i' ventait 
gros assis 1' dos tournai au 
faeu, guettant 1'us et la 
f'netre courn si s'attendait 
a veer quiq'un entrair, et par- 
fais i poussait de droles de 
cris, j'vous enreponds, efc not 
t'chen s'mauchai derriere 
ma caire quand j'disais mes 
perieres, parfais i' braq'tait 
dans s'en dormir coum s'iT 
. .tait a s'battre d'auve d'au- 

morning I cried out " You 
should be ashamed of your- 
self, Collas." 

Well, on that day they 
went behind the cider press, 
crossed the court-yard, and, 
I am not lying, I believe 
that they passed under the 
door. But ever since, 
whether I am wrong or 
right, neither Collas or his 
wife, have been able to 
look me in the face. 

Never will you make me 
believe that there are not 
many things that are not 
explained to us. I have 
heard of all sorts since my 
young days. I have often 
heard the wheel of the cider 
press turn at midnight, when 
there was not a soul about. 
I have seen our cat when it 
blew hard, sitting with his 
back turned to the fire, 
watching the door and the 
window as if it expected 
to see some one enter, and 
sometimes it utterred cu- 
rious cries, I assure you, 
and our dog would hide 
himself behind my chair 
when I said my prayers. 
Sometimes he barked in his 


tres t'chens ; o'ch'est m'n sleep, as if he were fighting 

avis que des cats et des with other dogs. Oh, it 

t'chens ves Ps affaires d'une is my opinion that cats and 

autre maniere que nous, dogs see things in a different 

et j'cre que ch'est grand waj^ to what we do, and I 

piti que tous cheux qui think it is a great pity that 

s'dementent de changier de all those who deny that peo- 

forme n'aient affaire a pie can change their forms, 

yeux." cannot refer to them." 



A miller, one day passing by his mill-pond at the 
Vrangue, was attracted by the noise and struggles of 
a very beautiful duck. He soon perceived that 
something was wrong, and that, unless the bird was 
speedily relieved, it must perish. He accordingly, 
with some difficulty, succeeded in extricating the 
duck from the water, and took it into the mill, 
where, after wiping it dry, and endeavouring to 
to arrange its ruffled feathers, he deposited it in a 
place of safety and left it. Eeturning shortly 
afterwards, he was astonished to find its place 
supplied by a very beautiful and richly-dressed lady, 
who thanked him for his humanity, and assured him, 
but for his assistance, she must inevitably have 
been drowned, promising him at the same time, that 
as long as he kept the adventure secret, he should, 
whenever he was in want, find a sum of money 
deposited on his mill stone.* 

* From Miss E. Chepmell. 

* The transformation of princesses into ducks by magical arts is a very 
common incident in the fairy tales of Norway and Sweden and Denmark. 
See Thorpe's Yule-tide Stories, 



An old sea captain, of the name of Mahy, who 
for many years had navigated a cutter between 
Guernsey and England, had, at last, by industry 
and perseverance, amassed a sufficient competency to 
enable him to give up his arduous and dangerous 
profession, and pass the remainder of his days in 
peace on shore. At least, so he hoped, but, alas ! 
the expectation of happiness, which poor mortals 
indulge in, is often doomed to be disappointed, and 
often by apparently trivial causes. Who could have 
guessed that a cat would have embittered the 
remaining days of the old sailor ? Yet so it was. 
The mischievous tricks of this imp of Satan rendered 
his life almost unbearable ; not a moment's rest could 
he enjoy in his own house. In vain did he attempt 
to drive the troublesome brute away. If ejected by 
the door, she returned immediately by the window, 
or down the chimney. It was useless to attempt to 
catch her ; she never slept, and her activity was so 
great that she escaped every blow aimed at her. 
One day, as he was sitting by his fireside, the tricks 
of the cat became unsupportable ; if he dozed off for 
a moment, his wig was twitched off his head ; if 
he laid down his pipe, puss was watching her 
opportunity to give a sly pat and knock it off the 
table ; the moment his glass of grog left his hand, 
it was sure to be upset. At last his patience being 
quite exhausted, he seized the poker and gave chase, 
but with as little effect as ever. Puss contrived to 
elude him, and managed so well that blows, aimed 
at her, fell on the furniture and crockery. After 
leading him several times round the room, she 





escaped into the passage, and seated herself on the 
" hecq ' or half door, which was formerly to be 
found in almost every house. Mahy seized a gun 
that was lying on the bacon-rack, and aimed at the 
cat, exclaiming at the same time, " Now I have 
you ! ' The cat paused, turned round, and, in a 
voice which domestic jars and curtain lectures made 
by far too familiar to him, said, very quietly and 
distinctly, " Pas acoudre " (" Not yet.") 

He then, for the first time, remembered that he 
had never seen puss and his wife at one and the 
same moment, and the unpleasant truth flashed 
across his mind that his good woman was one of 
those who frequent the weekly entertainments given 
by his Satanic Majesty on Friday nights at Catioroc, 
Pleinmont, le Cimetiere de Torteval, and elsewhere. 

Soon afterwards, Mrs. Mahy's identity was revealed 
in another manner. It is well known to housekeepers 
who retain the good old custom of having their linen 
washed and ironed at home, that an amount of 
gossip, scarcely to be credited, goes on on these 
occasions. The women employed, moving as they do 
from house to house, pick up all the news that has 
arisen during the week, and, meeting every day with 
fresh companions, retail what they have heard, and 
gather new information in return, from every direction. 
Of course the characters of the neighbours, and even 
of their employers, are not spared, and for this latter 
reason, perhaps, it is that a certain degree of mystery 
frequently pervades these conversations, and that 
listeners and evesdroppers are discouraged. A sort of 
freemasonry prevails, and it is only by a rare 
accident that the scandal and gossip retailed at the 
washing tub or ironing board find their way to the 


parlour. Great, therefore, was the astonishment of 
the discreet and prudent workwomen, whose avocations 
took them to the houses in the neighbourhood of 
Madame Mahy's dwelling, to find that their most 
confidential communications were repeated, and could 
in most cases be traced to that good lady. They 
had never detected her listening ; they felt convinced 
that none* among them could be so treacherous as 
to betray their secrets. They determined to keep a 
sharp look-out, and at last the mystery was solved. 
A young ironer, of more keen observation than her 
companions, had remarked that, in whatever house 
they worked, the same old tabby cat was to be seen 
seated before the fire, and apparently dreaming away 
her existence. Her suspicions were aroused. She 
watched puss closely, and was convinced at last that, 
even when apparently dozing, pussy was listening 
attentively to what was going on. She was not long 
in forming a plan to prove whether her conjectures 
were correct. She took up a flat iron from the 
hearth, and, under the pretence of cleaning and 
cooling it on the mat, approached the unsuspecting 
cat and suddenly applied it to her nose. Puss jumped 
up and suddenly disappeared with a yell, which, as 
the conclave of gossips declared, resembled far more 
the cry of a woman in pain than the miauling 
of a cat. Next day it was rumoured abroad that 
poor Madame Mahy, while sitting before her fire, had 
been overtaken with sleep, and falling forward had 
burnt her face severely on the bars of the grate ! 
"You know," said the old woman who related the 
story, " that Capt. Mahy never passed for a conjuror. 
He ought however to have had more wit than to 
tell these stories to his friends over a glass of grog, 


for, although he did not say that he had recognised 
his wife's voice, or that he did not believe that she 
had dozed over the fire, they had already made the 
remark that Mrs. Mahy and the cat had never been 
seen together, and were not long in drawing their 
conclusions and publishing them to the world. The 
story soon found its way to those hot-beds of gossip, 
the public bake-houses, and from thence' over all 
the town." * 


It is one of the greatest characteristics of wizards 
and witches that they have the power of assuming 
any form they please. 

A man, who kept a large number of cows, observed 

* From Miss Martineau, to whom the story was related by Mrs. Jonathan 
Bichard, of L'Ancresse, and also from Rachel Du Port. 


In the Vale parish, very many years ago, lived a father and daughter, Nico and Denise 
Roberts. Denise was an extremely pretty girl, and Pierre Henry, the richest man in the 
parish, wanted to marry her. There were two old maiden ladies who were neighbours of the 
Roberts', and were excessively jealous of all the attention and admiration Denise received. 
They both considered that they were still young and fascinating, and one was considered to 
have designs on old Roberts, and the other on Pierre Henry himself. 

They both had the reputation of being witches by all the neighbours, principally because 
they were never seen without two black cats, and they even used to go so far as to take 
these two cats with them, when, in the evenings, as was their frequent custom, they would 
take their knitting and go and sit for hours in the Roberts' kitchen. Denise used to implore 
her father not to encourage " ces daeux vieilles [sorilles," * knowing well that they were 
trying to poison his mind against Pierre Henry, but he paid no attention to his daughter, as 
they amused him by telling him all the gossip and scandal of the place, and he used to sit 
and let them whisper to him on one side of the hearth, while Pierre and Denise sat on the 
other ; but all the lime the two latter were talking, they were annoyed by the cats brought 
in by old Margot and Olympe Le Moine, and this went on evening after evening. If Pierre 
tried to move his chair nearer to hers, one of the cats would climb up and manage to thrust 
its claws in his leg. If he bent forward to whisper to her, the other cat would jump on her 
shoulder, and prevent Denise from attending to what he was saying, After some time he 
grew convinced that all this could not be accidental, so, one evening, just as the largest of 
the two cats had perched itself on Denise's shoulder at the most inopportune moment, he 
whispered in its ear " Margot, tu yuerrds " (" Margot, you will tumble down.") At that 
moment, Margot Le Moine, who was sitting at the other end of the room, fell off her chair 
in a dead faint, and the cat gave a yell and darted up the chimney. This finally convinced 
old Roberts as to the true character of his friends, and he swore that never again should 
these two " gueraudes " darken his doors, arid, soon after, Denise Roberts and Pierre Henry 
were married.t 

* Metivier translates sorille as a term of reproach, derived probably from the 
Bas- Breton sorelh, wizard, sorelhes, witch. 

t From Mrs. Charles Marquand, who bad heard it from Denise Roberts' first cousin/ 


that they were gradually pining away, that they failed 
to ' give the usual quantity of milk, and that no care 
that he could bestow on them availed aught in 
improving their condition. One or two of them had 
already died, and he feared that all the others would 
soon follow their example. The summer had set in, 
and at that season the cows are left out all night 
in the field, but when in the early morning the 
farmer went to look after them, he generally found 
them thoroughly exhausted, and looking as if they 
had been hard driven all night. 

At last he began to suspect that the poor animals 
were under the influence of some spell, and he 
determined to watch, in order to discover, if possible, 
what means were us'ed to bring the cows into the 
condition in which he found them. It seems rather 
a singular circumstance that wizards and witches, 
"with all their cleverness, do not appear to be able 
at times to see things which are passing under their 
very eyes. Perhaps their eagerness to do mischief 
blinds them to the danger of discovery. At all events, 
the farmer, who had concealed himself, as soon as the 
daylight had well departed, in a cattle shed that 
stood in one corner of the field, remained undisturbed, 
with his eyes intently fixed on the cows, who were 
lying down, quietly chewing the cud. 

About midnight his attention was attracted by a 
large black dog, which jumped over the hedge separat- 
ing his field from that of a neighbour with whom he 
had lately had a quarrel. The dog approached the 
cows, stood up on his hind legs, and began to dance 
before them, cutting such capers and somersaults as 
the farmer had never seen before. No sooner had 
the cows seen the dog than they also stood upright, 

I 2 


and imitated all his movements. The farmer crept 
stealthily out of the field, went home, loaded his gun 
with a silver coin, which he cut into slugs, for it 
is a well known fact that no baser metal than silver 
will wound a sorcerer, returned to the field, where he 
found the dance still going on as fast and furious 
as ever, and fired at the dog, which ran off howling, 
and limping on three legs. 

The next day his neighbour was seen with his arm 
in a sling, and it was given out that, in returning 
from the town the previous evening, he had fallen 
accidentally over a heap of stones, and so broken it. 
The farmer had his own ideas, but wisely kept them 
to himself. His neighbour had had a lesson ; he 
found that he had to deal with a resolute man ; the 
cows were allowed to remain unmolested, and soon 
recovered their pristine health and strength. This is 
said to have occurred in Jersey.* 


Some years have now elapsed since a family had 
reason to suppose that recourse had been had to 
magic arts in order to injure them. Their health 
declined, their cattle fell sick and died, their crops 
failed, and everything went wrong with them. It was 
but too plain that they were bewitched, and no 
chance remained of any amelioration of their condition 
unless they could discover the author of their 
misfortunes. They therefore determined, by the advice 
of a friend skilled in white witchcraft, to perform 
a charm for the purpose of obliging the wizard or 
witch to show himself. This charm is popularly 

* From Reuben Wilkins. 


called " Une boititure " or " boiling," and consists in 
setting certain ingredients to seethe in a large 
cauldron. The pot, duly filled, was accordingly 
placed on the hearth with all the prescribed 

No sooner did it begin to simmer than six mice 
entered the room, walking in procession, two and 
two, and all deeply veiled. As soon, however, as the 
pot boiled, the mice disappeared, and in their place 
stood a lady whom they all knew full well. 

Her name we have not been able to discover, our 
informant being evidently unwilling to compromise 
herself by mentioning it, but she was well known 
to the market women by the name of " La Dame 
au Voile," and bold would have been the farmer's 
wife who would have refused to let her have her 
wares at her own price. 

Another version of the story says that the mice 
were caught and carried to the office of "Le Procureur 
du Eoi," and that in the presence of this legal 
personage they resumed their own shapes, and 
appeared as three ladies and three women of the 
lower orders. * 


A man of the name of Collenette, living in the 
Castel parish, had sold a lot of furze to another 
countryman, who was one of the drummers of the 
North Eegiment of Militia, but did not receive 
payment for it at the time of striking the bargain. 
Some days afterwards, Collenette, on his way to his 
work, was met by a neighbour to whom he owed a 
small sum of money, who put him in mind of his 

* From Miss Martineau, to whom the story was related by an old servant. 


debt. He excused himself for the time, promising to 
pay as soon as ever he should receive his money 
for the furze he had sold. He then proceeded to his 
work, which was that of a quarryman, but the very 
first blow he struck the stone caused him to start 
back in affright, for he distinctly heard a voice 
proceeding from the rock, which said to him : 

" Thou hast told such an one that I did not pay 
thee for the furze. Thou shalt suffer for this to the 
last day of thy life, but that day is still distant." 

He looked about to see if any one was concealed 
near, from whom the voice could proceed, but saw 
no one. He then returned to his work, but every 
minute the same words rang in his ears. At noon 
he ate his meal, which he had brought to the field 
with him, and then, as labourers do, lay down on 
the grass to sleep. No sooner had he closed his 
eyes than he was roused by the beating of a great 
drum close to his ears. He started up, but could 
see nothing, and whenever he lay down the drumming 

This state of things continued, and the poor man, 
worn out by fatigue and fright, fell into a lingering 

If by chance he fell asleep, he was soon awakened 
by a sensation which he described as being as though 
a calf passed over his body, immediately after which 
he seemed to be violently lifted from his bed and 
thrown on the floor. It is even asserted that articles 
of furniture, which were in the same room with him, 
were thrown about without any visible agency. 

His friends and neighbours kindly visited him, and 
endeavoured to divert his mind from dwelling on 
his misfortunes, but all to no a,vail. Whether in 



Victor Hugo's " Haunted House " at Pleinmont. 


company or alone, he was equally tormented. At 
last, one night, he escaped the vigilance of his 
friends, and the next morning was found on the 
sea-shore, entangled in the mooring ropes of a fishing 
boat, and drowned in two or three inches of water.* 


Nowhere is the life of a fisherman to be envied. 
In summer, when the sea is calm, the days long, and 
the nights comparatively warm, it may be endurable. 
The amateur may find pleasure in sailing over a 
sunny sea, and the excitement of drawing in the 
lines or nets laden with fish may prove a sufficient 
compensation for many minor hardships ; but the man 
whose means of subsistence depend on his precarious 
gains, who must brave the perils of the waves at 
all seasons, at all hours, and in all weathers, is to 
be pitied. 

The coasts of Guernsey abound in fish of all sorts, 
and the earliest authentic records of the island prove 
that for many centuries the fisheries have been of 
great importance, and one of the main sources of 
wealth to the inhabitants. 

Considering the great number of boats kept, the 
dangerous nature of the coast, the numerous rocks, 
the intricate currents and strong tides, it is wonderful 
that so few accidents occur. The fishermen are 
skilful navigators, and have full confidence in them- 
selves; they fear not the usual dangers of a sailor's 
life, but they dread the supernatural influences that 
may be brought to bear against them. 

They or even some member of their family may 

.From Rachel Du Port. 


have, perhaps quite unconsciously, offended some old 
crone who has it in her power to injure them in 
various ways. By her evil arts she may cause their 
lines to become inextricably entangled in the sea-weed, 
or to come up laden with dog-fish, blue sharks, and 
such-like worthless fish. Happy indeed may the poor 
fisherman consider himself if the old woman's spite 
confines itself to such trifling annoyances, for has 
she not also the power to raise storms ? Is it not 
on record how Collette Salmon, wife of Collas 
Du Port, caused the loss of a boat and the death 
of the whole crew, merely because one of them asked 
her more than she thought was right for three 
miserable dog-fish ? Is it not well known how, when 
that noted witch, Marie Mouton, was banished from 
the island for her evil doings, the cutter that landed 
her at Southampton encountered a most terrific gale 
on its return ? And how the captain and crew were 
ready to depose upon oath that during the height of 
the storm they had seen Marie, sometimes perched 
on the top of the mast, and at other times astride 
on the jib-boom, tearing the sails to shreds and 
tatters ? Who could be incredulous enough to resist 
such testimony as this ? Certainly not Jean Falla. 
He was a bold fisherman. Every rock and shallow 
from the Hanois to the Amfroques were thoroughly 
well known to him. By night or day could he steer 
his way through their most intricate passes. He was 
not aware of having any enemy, but witches are 
easily provoked to anger, and unwittingly he may 
have offended one of the sisterhood. If he had done 
so, he had cause to repent his involuntary fault, and 
to his dying day he never forgot the fright he had 
to undergo in consequence. 


He had left his moorings in the Bay of Les 
Pequeries early in the morning. A more beautiful 
day had never risen on Guernsey. The sun shone, 
a light breeze just ruffled the surface of the sea, the 
tide served, fish were plentiful on the coast, and 
everything promised an abundant catch. He sailed 
out alone, reached the fishing ground, took his marks 
carefully, cast out his lines, and then anchored to 
await the turn of the tide when the fish begin to 
bite. It was not long before the gentle rocking of 
the boat and the warmth of the atmosphere began 
to make him feel drowsy, and, knowing that an hour 
or two must still elapse before he was likely to 
catch anything, he yielded to the influence, and was 
soon sound asleep. 

How long his sleep lasted he was never able to 
say, but the impression on his mind was that ; scarce 
a quarter of an hour had elapsed before he was 
awakened by one of the most terrific storms that he 
had ever experienced. The boat was rolling fearfully, 
and rapidly filling with water. To hoist a sail, to 
slip the cable, and to turn the boat's head in the 
direction of the land was his next endeavour, but at 
this critical moment his courage almost failed him. 
In the howlings of the storm he heard a peal of 
unearthly laughter above his head, and, looking up, 
was horrorstruck at discerning, in the fast flying scud, 
the form of an old woman perfectly well known to 
him, who appeared quite at home in her elevated 
situation. She was accompanied by many others who 
were strangers to him, but she was the leader of 
the party, and it was evident that his fright and 
embarrassment were the cause of their uproarious 
merriment- Who she was, he could never be pre- 


vailed upon to say, and, no doubt, in this he acted 

The wind fortunately favoured him. He made for 
the land, reached his moorings in safety, ran his boat 
up high and dry on the beach, and leaped ashore. 
A fresh peal of laughter from his aerial tormentors 
spurred him on. 

His house was at no great distance from the shore, 
but the way to it by the road was circuitous. He 
took, therefore, a short cut across the fields, passed 
over one or two hedges without accident, jumped 
over another and alighted astride on the back of 
a cow that was quietly chewing the cud on the other 
side, regardless of the turmoil of the elements. The 
poor beast, roused so suddenly from her repose, started 
up and rushed madly across the field, carrying her 
terrified load with her. The middle of the field was 
crossed by one of those deep cuttings which are made 
for draining the marshy lands of that district, and 
the cow, brought suddenly to a stand, precipitated 
the unfortunate Jean Falla head over heels into the 
muddy ditch. 

Again the unearthly laughter resounded. A less 
resolute man than Jean would have lost all presence 
of mind, but he remembered that he was within a 
few perches of his own house. He scrambled out as 
well as he could, reached his cottage door, which 
was fortunately open, entered, closed the door behind 
him, and fell exhausted on the floor. Another 
prolonged peal of laughter dying away in the distance 
was heard outside, but Jean, once under his own 
roof, felt himself safe. 

It was some time, however, before he recovered 
from his fright, and, whatever his real feelings towards 


them may have been, he was observed from that 
time forward to treat all old women with marked 
deference and respect.* 


Every careful and prudent person, before throwing 
away either the bladebone of an animal, or an empty 
egg-shell, makes a hole in it, and the reason assigned 
for this practice is to prevent an improper use being 
made of either by witches ; for it is firmly believed 
that they have the power of employing both the one 
and the other as vessels to convey them across the 
seas. No matter how tempestuous the weather may 
be, how high the billows may be rolling, the magic 
bark makes its way against wind and tide, with 
more speed and greater certainty than the best 
appointed steamer that was ever launched. Those 
who avail themselves of these means of conveyance 
seem to possess the power of making their vessel 
assume the appearance of a handsome well-rigged 
ship. It is related that in days long past, a 
respectable inhabitant of the neighbourhood of La 
Perelle Bay, went out with the early dawn, after a 
stormy night, to collect the sea- weed which the 
waves might have cast on the shore, or to pick up 
perchance, some fragments of wreckage, which are 
not unfrequently stranded on that dangerous coast 
after a heavy gale from the westward. 

He was surprised to see, in the yet uncertain 
light of the morning, a large ship in the offing 
bearing down upon the land. He watched it atten- 

* From my father, to whom the main incidents were related by Sieur Jean 
Falla himself. 


tively, expecting every moment to see it strike on 
one of the many sunken rocks that render the 
navigation of our seas so difficult and perilous. To 
his astonishment the ship, as it neared the shore, 
appeared to diminish rapidly in size. He was 
alarmed, but curiosity got the better of fright, and 
he stood his ground manfully. The vessel at last 
stranded close to the spot where he was standing, 
and, by this time, it was reduced to the dimensions 
of one of those toy boats, with which the children 
amuse themselves in the pools left on the beach by 
the receding tide. 

A man of dwarfish stature stepped on shore, and 
the countryman then perceived that the mysterious 
vessel had assumed the form of the bladebone of a 
sheep, enveloped in a mass of tangled sea-weed. 
Nothing daunted, he addressed the mysterious 
stranger, and asked him whence he came ? What 
was his name ? Whither was he going ? The stranger 
either was, or pretended to be, ignorant of the 
language in which he was addressed, but to the last 
question answered: " Je vais cheminant " ("I am 
going travelling)." 

He is said, however, to have remained in the 
island, to have built himself a house on a spot 
called " Casquet," * in the neighbourhood of the 

* According to Metivier's Dictionary " Casquet " (from the Latin Casicare) 
means " Over-fall Rock," and is the same as the Casus Rupes of Hearne and 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The name of the house is "La Perelle," "Casquet" is a nick-name. 
After the erection of a lighthouse on "Casquet" or " Les Casquets," the fishermen 
keeping their boats in Perelle Bay, nick-named the house " Le P'tit Casquet," because the 
inhabitants were in the habit of sitting up late, and consequently there was light to be 
seen in the bouse when they returned from sea late in the evening. From John de 
Can's, Esj. 


place where he landed, and to have become the 
progenitor of a family which bears the name of 
" Le Cheminant," and of which many of the members 
were famous for their skill as smiths. 

It is not unlikely that in this tale we have the 
remains strangely altered by passing through the 
mouths of many successive generations of some one 
of the numerous legendary stories of the early 
British saints, who, according to some of the 
hagiographers, were in the habit of navigating from 
Brittany to Cornwall, and from Wales to Ireland, 
on their mantles, in stone troughs, or on bundles of 


It is generally believed that those who practise 
unlawful acts, however clever they may be, are 
generally quite unable to foresee what is likely to 
happen to themselves. That this is not invariably 
the case the following story will show. 

A woman, who had the reputation of being a 
sorceress, contrived to live in comparative ease and 
comfort by begging from door to door, few venturing 
to send her away without an alms for fear of 
incurring her displeasure, and bringing down some 
misfortune on themselves or their households. She 
presented herself one morning at the house of a 
farmer in easy circumstances, whose wife was one 
not likely to be imposed upon, and not by any 
means remarkable for liberality towards the poor. 
The witch's well-contrived tale of distress failed to 

* From George Metivier, Esq., and Mrs. Savidan. 

See in Thorpe's Northern Mythology, Vol. I., p. 179, how Oiler crosses the 
sea on a bone. 



Old Market Place and States Arcade. 


make an impression on the hard heart of the 
farmer's wife, and the beggar was dismissed without 
even a kind word : indeed, it is even said that 
the odious epithet " Caimande " * was applied to 
her. On turning her back on the inhospitable door, 
she was heard to mutter between her teeth, " You 
shall repent of this." 

It was a fine morning in spring, and a hen 
that had hatched an early brood of chickens, had 
brought them out into the sun, and was clucking 
over her callow brood, and scratching the earth 
in search of seeds and insects for them. The 
farmer's wife was looking on with complacency, and 
already calculating in her mind what the brood 
was likely to fetch in the market. The proverb tells 
us that we must not reckon our chickens before 
they are hatched. It seems that it is not wise to 
reckon on them even after they are hatched. And 
this the farmer's wife found to her cost ; for, 
scarcely was the witch out of the farm-yard, 
before one of the chickens fell on its side, 
gave a kick or two, and died. Its example 
was soon followed by all its brothers and 
sisters, and, last of all, the bereaved mother also 
departed this life. The farmer's wife was at no loss 
to whose evil agency to impute this untoward event, 
and hastened at once to consult an old neighbour, a 
wise woman, who had the reputation of knowing how 
these unholy spells were to be counteracted, and what 
means were to be adopted to prevent the sorceress 
from doing any further mischief. She was advised to 

* Metivier derives this word meaning "beggar" from the old French word 
" guermenter " to complain. The old Bas-Breton word was " c'narm " to utter 


lose no time in returning home ; to extract carefully 
the hearts of all the chickens, as well as that of 
the hen ; to stick new pins or nails into them, and to 
roast or fry them over a brisk fire, when, she was 
assured, that not only would the witch be made to 
suffer unheard of agonies, but that all power would 
be taken from her to do any further mischief. 

The farmer's wife hastened home to follow the 
instructions given her by the wise woman, but found, 
to her dismay, that the sorceress had profited by 
her short absence from home to re-visit the farmyard, 
and that she had carefully removed every heart from 
the carcases.* 


Persons who have the temerity to wish to pry 
into the secrets of futurity are frequently punished 
for their curiosity by the exact fulfilment of the 
prediction, although it may appear to be such as 
could by no possibility come to pass. The following 
story may be taken as an instance. 

A young man applied to a woman, who pretended 
to be able to foresee events, to tell him what was 
likely to happen to him hereafter. She foretold that 
he had not long to live, but that he should be 
hanged, drowned, and burnt. Not knowing how it 
was possible that all these evils should come upon 
him, he made light of the prophecy, but the event 
proved the truth of the soothsayer's prediction. One 
night, having allowed his fire to go out, and having 
no means at hand to rekindle it, he ran across the 
fields to the nearest habitation to beg a light. On 
his return, in jumping over a ditch, his foot caught 

*From Charlotte Du Port. 


in some brambles, and he fell head foremost into 
the water, his legs at the same time became so 
entangled in the bushes that he remained suspended, 
and the torch which he held in his hand setting 
fire to his clothes, he perished, as the fortune-teller 
had predicted, by hanging, drowning, and burning.* 

*From Rachel Du Port. 


Other Editor's Notes on this subject will be found in Appendix B. 

Compare " Damasc, Seigneur d'Asnieres, excommunie par Hugues de Saint-Calais, Eveque 
de Mans (A.D. 1136-1144). Damasc, averti qu'il perirait par le feu et par 1'eau, ne fit qu'en 
rire ; mais un jour, travcrsant en bateau la Sarthe pendant un orage, il fut foudroye et 
noye." La Suze. Magazin Pittoresque, 34me annee, p. 312. 



anir Incantations. 

: This, gathered in the planetary hour, 
With noxious weeds, and spell'd with words of power, 
Dire stepdames in the magic bowl infuse." 

Dry den. 

'Begin, begin; the mystic spell prepare." 


S long as the popular belief in witchcraft 
exists and with all the boasted light and 
civilisation of the nineteenth century it 
still holds its ground there will be found those who 
imagine that the evil influence of the sorcerer may 
be averted by a counteracting spell, or by certain 
practices, such as carrying an amulet about one's 
person, nailing a horse-shoe to the door of a house 
or the mast of a ship, etc. 

With the ignorant and unlearned it is often useless 
to reason : they cannot understand nice distinctions, 
and if their faith be shaken or destroyed on one 
point, who can tell where the current of unbelief 
will stop ? That there are persons who, by their 
illicit arts, can cause sickness to man or beast is 
firmly credited, but as there is no evil without a 
remedy, it is equally an article of popular belief that 
there are also those who are in possession of the 
necessary knowledge and power to counteract the 
evil designs and practices of the sorcerer. 

z 2 


As may readily be supposed these last are cunning 
and unprincipled wretches, who trade on the folly 
and superstition of their ignorant neighbours, and 
who, doubtless, are often the cause of the malady of 
the unfortunate cow or pig, which they are afterwards 
called in to advise about. Various charms and 
ceremonies are resorted to on these occasions, whereof 
the most potent appears to be that known as " la 
bomture," which consists in setting a number of 
ingredients to seethe together in a cauldron, of which 
the principal is the heart of some animal stuck full 
of pins. It is not easy to arrive at a correct 
knowledge of what is done, for great secrecy is 
generally observed, and the actors in these supersti- 
tious follies are afraid to divulge what takes place. 
The object of the charm seems to be either to avert 
the evil, or to discover the author of it. In the 
latter case, it often leads to serious misunderstandings 
between neighbours. There are, however, certain 
charms of a more innocent character, which can be 
resorted to without the intervention of a cunning man. 

Shortly after the Eev. Thomas Brock took posses- 
sion of the Eectory of St. Pierre-du-Bois, about 
the beginning of the nineteenth century, he was, return- 
ing home one night from town, where he had been 
detained until a late hour. It was midnight when 
he reached the parsonage, and in the imperfect light 
he thought that he saw a number of persons 
assembled near the church porch. Astonished at so 
unusual a sight, and wondering what could possibly 
be the cause of such an assembly at that hour, he 
tied up his horse to the gate, and stepped over the 
stile into the churchyard. On drawing near he was 
witness to an extraordinary ceremony. Several of his 


parishioners, among whom he recognised many of the 
better sort, were walking in orderly procession round 
the church, and touching every angle as they passed. 
He addressed them and inquired what they were 
doing, but not a single word could he get in answer 
to his questions. Perfect silence was preserved until 
they came to the church-porch, where they all knelt 
down and recited the Lord's Prayer. This was 
repeated more than once, and at last they left the 
place without satisfying the legitimate curiosity of 
their pastor. Determined to fathom the mystery, he 
called the next day on some of the principal actors 
in the ceremony, and then learnt, not without some 
difficulty, that it was intended to remove a spell that 
was supposed to be hanging over the son or daughter 
of one of the parties, and that a single word spoken 
by any of the persons engaged in the solemn rite, 
would have effectually broken the charm. 

In reference to this charm it may here be mentioned 
that an old servant of the Eev. W. Chepmell, 
Kector of St. Sampson's and the Vale, was suffering 
from an ulcer in the leg. To cure it she went round 
the church, stopping at each of the angles, and 
repeating a certain prayer. The Kev. H. Le M. 
Chepmell, D.D., who was a child at the time, remembers 
the circumstance, but does not know what the prayer 
was that was used on the occasion. 

The forms which follow, and which, for the benefit 
of those who are unacquainted with French, have 
been translated as closely as possible, were found in 
a book of memoranda, household and farming accounts, 
recipes for medicines, etc., which once belonged to 
Sieur Jean Lenfestey, des Adams, in the parish of 
St. Pierre-du-Bois. It was written about the end of 


the last, and beginning of the present, century. The 
mystical words used in some of the spells have been 
given just as they were found in the manuscript. 
They appear to be a curious jumble of Hebrew, 
Greek, and Latin, very much disfigured by having 
passed through the hands of ignorant, unlettered 
transcribers, or, perhaps, by having been transmitted 
orally from one to another, and, at last, taken down 
from dictation. It is quite impossible to say how 
long these spells and charms have been in use 
among the peasantry, whether they have been handed 
down by tradition from times before the Keformation, 
or whether which is far more probable they have 
been introduced in comparatively recent times by 
some of the farm-labourers, who, in times of peace, 
come to the island from the neighbouring coasts of 
Normandy and Brittany in search of work. It is 
only on the latter supposition that the invocation of 
St. Blaize and St. Nicodemus, the saying of a Mass, 
and the reciting of Paters and Ave-Marias can be 
accounted for, the indigenous population having been 
so thoroughly reformed as to have lost all recollection 
of these matters. 


Choose one of the animals whose death has been 
caused, taking care that there is no sign of life 
remaining in it : take out its heart, and place it in 
a clean plate: then take nine thorns of "noble 
epine " * and proceed as follows : 

Pierce one of the thorns into the heart, saying : 

* Probably a corruption of " aube-epine." 




Adibaga, Sabaoth, Adonay, contra, redout prisons 
preront fini unixio parade gasum. 

Take two thorns and pierce them in, saying : Qui 
susum mediotos agres gravoil valax. 

Take two more, and in placing them say : Laula 
zazai valoi sator saluxu parade gassum. 

Take two more, and say in placing them : Mortuis 
cum fice suni et per flagelationem domini nostri Jesu 

Then place the last two thorns with these words: 
Avir sunt devant nous parade tui strator verbonum 
ossisum fidando. 

Then continue saying : " I call on him or her 
who has caused the Missal Abel to be fabricated : 
cease from thine evil deed ; come, nevertheless, by 
sea or by land, wherever thou art ; show thyself to 
us without delay and without fail." 

(Note : that if thorns of the " noble epine " are 
not to be procured, one may have recourse to new 

The heart, being pierced with thorns, as directed, 
must be put into a small bag and hung in the 
chimney. The next day it must be taken out of 
the bag and put upon a plate ; then pull out the 
first thorn, and place it in another part of the heart, 
pronouncing the same words as were said at first ; 
then take out the two next thorns with the fitting 
words, and so on with the others in due order, 
replacing them as we have directed, and being 
careful never to stick a thorn again into the same 
hole. This is to be done on nine consecutive days ; 
nevertheless, if you wish not to give any respite to 
the malefactor, you may compress the nine days 
into one, observing the order above prescribed. At 


the last operation, after having pierced in the thorns 
or nails with the fitting words, you must make a 
large fire, place the heart on a gridiron, and put it 
to roast on the live embers. The malefactor will be 
obliged to appear and to beg for mercy ; and if it 
be out of his power to appear within the time you 
appoint, his death will ensue. 


Kill a pigeon; open it and pluck out its heart. 
Stick new pins all round the heart. Put water to 
boil in a small pot, and when it is boiling throw 
the heart in it. You must have ready a green turf 
to serve as a cover to the pot, and must put it on 
with the earth downwards. 

The pot must boil for an hour. Be careful to 
keep up a good fire of wood or charcoal, and at the 
end of the hour throw the heart into the burning 
embers. See that all the doors, windows, and other 
openings of the house are closed. The sorcerer will 
come and call and knock at the door, demanding to 
speak with you ; but you must not open to him 
until you have made him promise to do what you 



Take the tails of two fresh-water eels, with the 
inner bark of an ash tree, that which is next the 
wood. Buy twenty-six new needles, and put all to 
burn together with flower of sulphur. 

If you wish to see the sorcerer by daylight you 
must take the roots of small and large sage, with 
the pith of the elder and daffodil bulbs. Put the 


whole to boil together in vinegar, and make your 
arrangements so that it shall boil a quarter of an 
hour before noon. As soon as the first bubbles begin 
to rise the sorcerer will make his appearance. In 
this experiment you must leave the door open. It 
is done simply with the view of knowing the 


Take a sheep's heart, pierce nails into it, and 
hang it in the chimney, saying : Rostin, Clasta 
Auvara, Chasta, Custodia, Duranee. These words 
must be said over the heart every day, and eight 
days will not have elapsed before the sorcerer who 
has cast the spell will come and beg you to remove 
the heart, complaining that he feels great pain 
internally. You can then ask him to remove the 
spell, and he will request you to give him some 
animal to which he may transfer it. You may grant 
what he asks, otherwise he will burst asunder. 



Take nine bits of green broom, and two sprigs of 
the same, which you must tie together in the form 
of a cross (x) ; nine morsels of elder, nine leaves of 
betony, nine of agrimony, a little bay salt, sal- 
ammoniac, new wax, barley, leaven, camphor and 
quick-silver. The quick-silver must be inclosed in 
cobbler's wax. Put the whole into a new linen cloth 
which has never been used, and sew it well up so 
that nothing may fall out. Hang this round your 
neck. It is a sure preservative against the power of 



On St. John's Eve gather fern before noon. Make 
a bracelet of it in the form of these letters H u T Y . 

Write on the circumference of an apple the letters 
H A o N and throw it into the midst of the combatants. 


Touching the part affected, say : Place + + + 
Consummatum + + + Resurrexit. 


Eepeat these words thrice over the burn, breathing 
thereon each time : 

" Feu de Dieu, perds ta chaleur, 
Comme Judas perdit sa couleur, 
Quand il traliit not re Seigneur, 
Au jar din des oliviers." * 


Make three crosses on the mantel-piece with a live 
coal, and say : " In te Domine speravi, non confundar 
in ceternum" 

Take four-leaved clover and place it on a 
consecrated stone ; then say a Mass over it, put it 
into a nosegay, and make the person smell it, saying 
at the same time " Gabriel ilia sunt" 


On St. John's Eve gather elecampane (alliene de 
campana), dry it in an oven, reduce it to powder 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Another form, is as follows . 

Brulure, brulure, mollis ta chaleur, 
Comme Judas perdit sa couleur 
En trahissant not re Seigneur. 

from John de Cart's, Esq. 


with ambergris, and wear it next your heart for 
nine days. Then endeavour to get the person whose 
love you wish to obtain, to swallow a portion of it, 
and the effect is sure to follow. 

Say: "Si ergo me quceritis, sinite hos abire." 

Say: "Our help is in the name of the Lord, 
who made the Heavens and the Earth. In the name 
of God, Amen ! St. Nicodemus, who tookest down 
our Lord Jesus Christ from the cross, deign by the 
permission of God to cure this horse (name the 
colour), belonging to (name the owner), of the vives 
or gripes (as the case may be)." 

Then let all who are present say the Lord's Prayer 

nine times. 


" Horse (name the colour), belonging to (name the 
owner), if thou hast the vives, or the red gripes, 
or any other of thirty-six maladies, in case thou be 
suffering from them : May God cure thee and the 
blessed Saint Eloy ! In the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen ! " 

Then say five " Paters " and five " Aves ' : on 
your knees. 

* This charm must have been long current in Guernsey, for the invocation 
with which it commences is a strictly Presbyterian form, being the sentence 
with which the services of the Reformed French Church invariably began. 

The mention of "Paters" and "Aves," and the invocation of St. Eloy in 
the second charm, points clearly to a Romish origin, and render it very doubtful 
whether the charm could ever have been resorted to in Guernsey within the 
last two or three hundred years. St. Nicodemus might still be recognised, but 
St. Eloy has long been entirely forgotten, and probably not one in a thousand 
of our peasantry has the slightest idea, of what is meant by the words " Pater " 
a.nd "Aye." 



Say : " Blaise, martyr for Jesus Christ, command 
thee to come up or go down." 


Say three times, while looking at the dog : 
" Bare Barbare ! May thy tail hang down ! May 
St. Peter's key close thy jaws until to-morrow ! " * 


A belief in the efficacy of quick-silver in counteract- 
ing the evil eye, and averting the injurious effects 
of spells, is very universal among the lower orders ; 
and there are many persons who will never venture 
beyond their threshold without having in their 
pocket, or hung round their neck, a small portion 
of this metal. 

A fisherman, who for some time had been unsuccess- 
ful in his fishing, imagined that a spell had been 
cast upon him. No man was better acquainted with 
the marks by which the fishermen recognise the 
spots where the finny tribe are to be found in most 
abundance. None was better acquainted with the 
intricate tides and currents which render the rocky 
coasts of the island such a puzzle to navigators, or 
knew better when to take advantage of them to 
secure a plentiful catch of fish. His tackle was 
good, he used the best and most tempting bait, and 
yet, under the most propitious circumstances, with 
the most favourable conditions of tide, wind, and 
weather, day after day passed and he took next to 
nothing. Winter was coming on, and a longer 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * Many of these charms are to be found almost word for word in 
Croyattces et Legendes du Centre de la France, by Laisnel de la Salle, Vol. I,, p. 291-330., etc. 


continuance of bad weather than is usual at that 
season, combined with the worthless quality of the 
fish caught when he did venture out between the 
gales, in short, a continued run of ill-luck, confirmed 
him in the idea that he was bewitched. 

He confided his fears to an old man of his own 
profession, who had the reputation of knowing more 
than his neighbours, and particularly of being able to 
give advice in such cases as this, where there was 
reason to suppose that some unlawful influence was 
at work. 

The old man listened to his tale, confirmed him 
in the idea that some evil-disposed person, in 
league with Satan, had cast an evil eye on him, and 
ended by counselling him always to carry quick-silver 
about with him. With this precaution he told him 
that he might defy the spells of all the wizards and 
witches that ever met on a Friday night at Catioroc 
to pay their homage to Old Nick. 

The fisherman took the old man's advice, and 
procured a small vial containing mercury, which he 
placed carefully in the purse in which he carried his 
money, when he was fortunate enough to have any. 

Strange to say, from that moment his luck turned, 
and, a succession of good hauls rewarding his industry, 
the fisherman soon found himself in possession of 
what, to him, was a goodly sum of money, and in 
which not a few gold pieces were included. These 
were, of course, carefully deposited in the purse 
containing the precious amulet, to which he attributed 
his good luck and his deliverance from the spell, 
which, he no longer doubted, had been cast upon 

Alas ! his confidence in the charm was destined 





to be, for a time, rudely broken. One night, in 
manoeuvring his boat, an accidental blow from 
some of the gear shattered the bottle containing 
the quick-silver. What was his dismay the 
next morning, on opening his purse, to perceive that 
all his gold was turned into silver, and that the 
silver coins bore the appearance of vile lead ! He 
was in despair, concluding very naturally that he had 
fallen into the power of some prince of magicians, 
and that henceforth he was a ruined man. He again 
consulted his old friend, whose experience this time 
proved of more practical use than his former advice. 
The wise man soon saw what had caused the 
apparent change in the coin, and recommended him 
to go without delay to a silversmith, who soon 
removed the quick-silver with which the precious 
pieces were coated, and restored them to their pristine 


There are certain old men and women who, without 
pretending to any supernatural knowledge, are never- 
theless supposed to possess the power of causing 
those unsightly excrescences (warts) to disappear, 
merely by looking at, and counting, them. Some 
mystery, however, is attached to the operation. They 
may not impart their secret, neither may they receive 
money for their services, although there is no reason 
why they should refuse any other present that may 
be offered. There is no doubt that the hands of 
growing boys and girls are more often disfigured by 
these excrescences than those of adults, and that, 
at a certain age, they are apt to disappear almost 

* From Mr. John Le Cheminant. 


suddenly. Perhaps this has been noticed by the 
persons who pretend to the art of removing warts, 
and that they do not undertake the cure unless they 
perceive certain indications of their being likely to 
disappear before long by the mere agency of natural 
causes. Nevertheless, the cases in which a cure has 
been effected after all the usual surgical remedies 
have been resorted to in vain, are quite sufficiently 
numerous to justify a belief in the minds of the 
vulgar of a possession of this extraordinary gift. 

The operation, whatever it may be, is designated 
by the word " dfoompter," which may be translated 
" to uncount," or "to count backwards.'' 

The process by which a wen, or glandular swelling, 
known in our local dialect as " un veuble" is to be 
removed, is expressed by the same term, but in this 
there is no mystery which requires concealment. The 
charm is well known, and may be used by anyone. 
It is as follows. The person who undertakes the 
cure must begin by making the sign of the cross on 
the part affected, and must then repeat the following 
formula : " Pour dccompter un veuble" * " Saint 
Jean avait un veuble qui coulait a neuf pertins. De 
neuf Us vinrent a Jmit ; de liuit Us vinrent a sept; 
de sept Us vinrent a six; de six Us vinrent a cinq; 
de cinq Us vinrent a quatre ; de quatre Us vinrent a 
trois ; de trois Us vinrent a deux ; de deux Us 
vinrent a un; d'un it vint a rien, et ainsi Saint 
Jean perdit son veuble" . 

The second day the operator must begin at 
"eight," the day after at "seven," and so on until 
the whole nine are counted off, when, if a cure is 

* From Mrs. Dalgairns and Rachel Duport. 

A A 

402 QttteB$88 FOLK-LORI:. 

not effected, it must be set down to some neglect 
or want of faith in one or the other of the parties 
concerned, for no one can venture to doubt the 
efficacy of the spell. 

It will, doubtless, have struck the reader that in 
this, as well as in other charms, the number nine 
plays a conspicuous part. This may possibly be 
connected in some way with the practice of the 
Church of Eome, which, on certain special occasions, 
orders solemn prayers and ceremonies for nine 
consecutive days. 

In most farm-houses there were formerly to be found 
one or more old oak-chests, sometimes very richly 
and quaintly carved. In some places where they 
had been taken care of, they were in excellent 
preservation, but, in the majority of cases, they had 
given way to those more modern articles of furniture 
chests of drawers and wardrobes less elegant, perhaps, 
but more fashionable, and decidedly more convenient. 
Now there are few or none to be met with, the 
revival of the taste for rich and elaborate carving 
having led to a demand for these ancient specimens 
of the skill of our forefathers to be remodelled into 
sideboards, cabinets, and other similar articles of 
furniture. When these old coffers had ceased to be 
thought worthy of a place in the bettermost rooms 
of the house, they were frequently to be found in 
the stables or outhouses, serving as cornbins, or 
receptacles for all sorts of rubbish. Still they were 
sometimes remembered, for old people would tell of 
their efficacy in curing erysipelas, or, as it is locally 
termed, " le faeu sauvage," The chests chosen for 
this purpose were those ornamented with Scriptural 
subjects or figures of Apostles and Saints, and the 


cure was supposed to be effected by opening and 
shutting the lid of the coffer nine times, so as to 
fan the face of the patient. 

One of the many mysterious ills to which poor 
human nature is subject, is known as " la maladie 
de la nere poule" This is to be removed by 
procuring a perfectly black hen, and swinging her 
round the head of the sufferer three times. 

To cure an equally undefined affection known as 
" le mal volant " the patient must also take a black 
hen, and, holding her in both hands, must rub that 
part of the body in which the pain is felt. The 
hen used in this incantation must be bought ; if a 
gift, the charm would fail of its effect. After having 
been used it must not be kept or put to death, but 
given away. The classical reader will not require to 
be reminded that cocks were sacrificed to ^Esculapius. 


These interesting relics of the aboriginal inhabitants 
of the island are called by the country people 
" fouidres" i.e. thunderbolts. It is firmly believed 
that the house which has the happiness to possess 
one of them will neither be struck by lightning nor 
consumed by fire. 

It is believed that animals that are sick can be 
cured by giving them water to drink in which a 
celt has been dipped. 


When a person has reason to believe that either 
himself or any of his belongings is under the 
influence of a spell, he should procure the heart of 
an animal that of a black sheep is supposed to be 

A A 2 


the most efficacious, and, having stuck it over thickly 
in every part with new pins or nails, put it down 
to roast before a strong fire. Care must, however, 
have been taken previously to close up all means of 
entry into the house, even to stuffing up the key-hole. 
The heart no sooner begins to feel the influence of 
the fire than doleful cries are heard from without, 
which increase more and more as the roasting goes 
on. Loud knocks are next heard at the door, and 
urgent appeals for admission are made, so urgent 
that few have the heart to withstand them. No 
sooner, however, is the door opened than all the 
clamour ceases. No one is seen outside, and, on 
looking at the heart, it is found to be burnt to a 
cinder. The charm has failed, and those who tried 
it remain as much under the influence of the sorcerer 
as ever, with the additional certainty of having 
offended their enemy without a chance of pardon or 
pity on his part, nay, they know that they have 
only exposed themselves to greater persecution in 
revenge for the pain they have made him suffer ; for 
it is universally believed that the wizards or witches 
are irresistibly attracted to the place where this 
counter-spell is being performed ; and that, while it 
lasts, the tortures of the damned, are suffered by 
them. What would occur if the spell were persevered 
in and the door kept closed is not generally known, 
but it is thought that as the heart dried up 
before the flames, the sorcerer would wither away, 
and that, with the last drop of moisture, his 
wicked soul would depart to the place of everlasting 

* From Charlotte Du Port. 


It is related that towards the end of the eighteenth 
century a number of country people were assembled 
in a farm-house in the parish of Ste. Marie-du-Castel, 
for the purpose of putting into practice the counter- 
spell described in the preceding paragraph, or one of a 
similar nature ; for it is believed that the same end 
may be attained by setting a cauldron on the hearth, 
and boiling the heart with certain herbs, gathered 
with some peculiar precautions, and known only to 
the " dcsorcellewrs" as the white-witches who generally 
conduct these ceremonies are called in the local 
dialect. The doors of the house, as is required in 
these cases, had been carefully closed and fastened, 
and the charm was, to all appearance, progressing 
favourably, when a knock was heard at the door. 
No one answered, for fear of breaking the spell, 
but all remained in breathless and awe-stricken silence, 
believing firmly that their incantation was working 
favourably and in accordance with their wishes. The 
visitor on the outside, who could plainly see that 
the house was not untenanted, grew impatient at not 
being admitted, and called out with a loud and 
authoritative voice, to know why an entrance was 
refused him. The voice was that of a gentleman 
residing in the neighbourhood, the Seigneur de St. 
George, a magistrate universally respected for his 
integrity, and beloved for his benevolence. The 
inmates of the dwelling durst no longer keep him 
out ; the door was at last unbolted, but, as the 
common belief is that the first person who applies 
for admission after the spell has begun is the sorcerer, 
the assembled peasants were at their wits' end to 
account for his presence. 


The gentleman was not long in perceiving how 
matters stood. He lectured the assembly soundly on 
their folly and superstition, and, recognising among 
them the " desorcelleur, " whom he well knew to be 
a designing knave, making his profit out of the 
credulity of his neighbours, he drove him out of the 
house with some well-applied stripes from a dog-whip 
he chanced to have in his hand. 

It is not known whether the Seigneur de St. 
George succeeded in convincing any of his neighbours 
of the folly of believing in witchcraft ; it is rather 
thought, on the contrary, that from that day forward 
they considered him wiser than need be ! * 

" A love-potion works more by the strength of charm than nature." 

Collier, On Popularity. 

Under the head of Holy Wells mention has already 
been made of a means resorted to by maidens to 
ascertain who their future husbands are to be, but 
this is not the only manner by which this most 
interesting information is to be obtained. 

St. Thomas' Night, La Longue Veille, Christmas 
Eve, and the last night of the year, are all seasons 
in which it is supposed that the powers of the air, 
devils, witches, fairies, and goblins, are abroad and 
active, and accordingly, these days, like Hallowe'en in 
Scotland, are chosen for the performance of spells 

*From W. P. Metivier, Esq. 




by which some of the secrets of futurity may be 

Some of these charms must be performed alone 
others are social, but all require strict silence. As 
to the social spells, it is easy to conceive that when a 
number of girls are met together to try their fortunes, 
the charm is frequently broken, either by the fears of 
the superstitious, or the laughter of the incredulous. 
We will begin with the solitary spells. On St. 
Thomas' Night the girl who is desirous of knowing 
w r hom she is to marry, must take a golden pippin, 
and, when about retiring to rest, must pass two pins 
crossways through it, and lay it under her pillow. 
Some say that the pippin should be wrapped up in 
the stocking taken from the left leg others that this 
stocking should be taken off last and thrown over 
the left shoulder. Which is right, we have no means 
of ascertaining, but doubtless the efficacy of the spell 
depends on following the correct formula. It is then 
necessary to get into bed backwards, and repeat the 
following incantation thrice : 

" Saint Thomas, Saint Thomas, 

Le plus court, le plus bas, 

Fais moi voir en m'endormant 

Celui qui sera mon amant, 

Et le pays, et la contree. 

Ou il fait sa demeuree, 

Et le metier qu'il salt faire 

Devant moi qu'il vienne faire. 

Qu'il soit beau ou qu'il soit laid 

Tel qu'il sera je I'aimerai. 

Saint Thomas, fait moi la grdce 

Que je le voie, que je I'embrasse." 
" Ainsi soit il." 


Not another word must be spoken, and, if the rite 
has been duly performed, the desired knowledge will 
be communicated in a dream. There are different 
versions of the words to be repeated. One of them 
avoids a direct invocation of the Saint, and begins 
thus : 

" Le jour Saint Thomas, 

Le plus court, le plus bas, 

Je prie Dieu incessamment 

De me faire voir en dormant 

Celui qui doit etre mon amant, etc.* 
Another charm consists in placing two fronds of 
agrimony, each bearing nine leaflets, crosswise under 
the pillow, and securing them by means of two new 
pins, also crossed. The future husband is sure to 
appear in a dream, f 

The name of the future husband may be discovered 
by writing the letters of the alphabet on a piece of 
paper, cutting them apart, and, when getting into 
bed, just after extinguishing the light, throwing them 
into a basin or bucket of water. Next morning the 
bits of paper which float with the written side 

* See Notes and Queries, IV. Series. Vol. VIII., p. 506. Derbyshire 

On St. Thomas' Eve there used to be a custom among girls to procure 
a large red onion, into which, after peeling, they would stick nine pins, 
and say : 

" Good St. Thomas, do me right, 
Send me my true love this night, 
In his clothes and his array, 
Which he weareth every day." 

Eight pins were stuck round one in the centre, to which was given the 
name of the swain the " true love." 

The onion was placed under the pillow on going to bed, and they would 
dream of the desired person. 

t From Miss Lane. 


uppermost indicate the name. This charm is efficacious 
on Midsummer Eve.* 

The trade of the husband that is to be may be 
guessed at by throwing the white of a raw egg into 
a glass of water, and exposing it to the rays of the 
noonday sun at Christmas or Midsummer. The egg 
in coagulating assumes curious and fantastic forms, 
and these are interpreted to denote the trade or 
profession of him whom the girl who tries the charm 
is destined to marry. A sort of divination to the 
same effect is also practised by pouring molten lead 
into water. 

A spell which requires to be performed in society 
is as follows. On any of the solemn nights about 
Christmastide, when spells are supposed to be effica- 
ciously used, a number of girls meet together and 
make a chaplet in perfect silence, by stringing 
grains of allspice and berries of holly alternately, 
placing, at intervals of twelve, an acorn, of which 
there must be as many as there are persons in the 

This chaplet is twined round a log of wood, which 
is then placed on the blazing hearth, and, as the 
last acorn is being consumed, each of the young 
women sees the form of her future husband pass 
between her and the fire.* 

Another social spell consists in making a cake, to 
which each person in the company contributes a 
portion of flour, salt, and water, together with a hair 
from her own head, or parings from the nails. When 
the cake is kneaded an operation in which all must 
take a part it is placed on the hearth to bake. A 

* From Mjss Lane. 


table is then set out in the middle of the room, and 
covered with a clean cloth. As many plates are laid 
out as there are persons present, and as many seats 
placed round the table, each girl designating her 
own. The cake, when thoroughly baked, is placed on 
the board, and the girls watch in solemn silence until 
the hour of midnight, when, exactly as the clock 
strikes twelve, the appearances of the future husbands 
are seen to enter, and seat themselves in the chairs 
prepared for them ; each girl, however, seeing only her 
own husband that is to be, those of her companions 
remaining invisible to her. Should anyone of the 
party be destined to die unmarried, instead of the 
appearance of a man, she sees a coffin. The spell 
is broken, should a single word be uttered from 
the moment when the ingredients for the cake are 
first produced, until the whole of the ceremony is 

The charmed cake may also be used by a person 
alone, in which case the manner of proceeding is as 
follows. The cake, which should be composed of 
equal quantities of flour, salt, and soot, must be made 
and baked in secret and in silence. On retiring to 
rest it must be divided into two equal portions, one 
of which must be eaten by the person who tries the 
charm, but no water or other liquid is to be drunk 
with it. The other half is to be wrapped up in the 
garter taken from the left leg, and placed under the 
pillow. At midnight the form of the future husband 
will stand at the bedside and be seen by his intended 

* From the late Miss Sophy Brock and Rachel Du Port, 
f From Miss Lane, 


It must not be supposed that these love charms can 
always be tried with impunity. Like all other forms of 
divination they are sinful, and instances are on record 
in which punishment has followed the unhallowed 
attempt to pry into the secrets of futurity so wisely 
hidden from our mortal ken. It would seem that 
not merely the wraith or similitude of the destined 
husband can be made to show itself, but that, by 
some unexplained and mysterious agency, the actual 
presence in the body can be completed, at whatever 
distance the man may at that moment be. To the 
unfortunate individual who is made the victim of 
these practices the whole appears the effect of a 
frightful dream, attended with much suffering. It is 
related that an officer, thus forced to show himself, 
left behind him a sword, which was found by the 
young woman after his departure, and carefully hidden 
away. In process of time he came to the island, 
saw the girl, fell in love with her, and was married. 
For many years they lived happily together, . until, 
one day, in turning out the contents of an old 
coffer, he found at the bottom of it the identical 
sword which had disappeared from his possession in 
so unaccountable and mysterious a manner. The 
memory of the frightful dream in which he had 
endured so much flashed across his mind. In a 
frenzy of passion he sought his wife, and, upbraiding 
her with having been to him the cause of dreadful 
suffering, and of having put him in peril of his life by 
her magical practices, plunged the sword into her breast.* 

*From Rachel Du Port. 

* See Les Veillees Allemandes, by Grimm. L,a V(ill$ fa Sf. 
Vol. I., p. 201, 



There appear to be some superstitious notions with 
regard to the connection of witchcraft with the white- 
thorn. Witches are suspected of meeting at night 
under its shade. An old man of very eccentric 
habits not many years since still inhabited the 
ruined manor house of Anneville, once the residence 
of the ancient family of de Chesney, sold in 1509 
to Nicholas Fashin, and subsequently passing by 
inheritance into the Andros family, in whose posses- 
sion it still remains. 

He passed with his neighbours for a wizard, 
although he only professed to be a " desorcelleur " 
or white-witch, and was said to have been in the 
habit of taking those who applied to him to be 
unbewitched to a very old thorn-bush, which had 
grown up within the walls of an ancient square 
tower adjoining the house, and there, before sunrise, 
making them go through certain evolutions which were 
supposed to counteract the spells which had been 
cast upon them.* 

The hawthorn, or at least such specimens of the 
tree as are remarkable for their age, their size, or 
their gnarled branches, seems to be associated in the 
minds of our peasantry with magic and magical 
practices. The wizards and witches, when, in their 
nocturnal excursions they take the form of hares, 
rabbits, cats, or other animals, assemble under the 
shadow, or in the vicinity of some ancient thorn, 
and amuse themselves with skipping round it in the 
moonlight. The " desorcelleur " who pretends to the 
power of counteracting the spells of witches, and 

* From the present proprietor of Anneville. 


freeing the unfortunate victims of their art from 
their evil influence, resorts with the sufferer to some 
noted thorn-bush, and there goes through the cere- 
monies and incantations which are to free the 
sufferer. A large and very old tree, on the estate 
of a gentleman in the parish of St. Saviour's, was, 
in days gone by, constantly resorted to at night for 
the purpose of cutting from it small portions of the 
wood to be carried about the person as a safeguard 
against witchcraft. It is essential to the efficacy of 
this charm that the part of the branch cut off 
should be that from which three spurs issue.* 

William Le Poidevin was told by his grandmother 
that the " blanche-epine " is "le roi des bois ; " the 
wood must not be employed for common uses. A 
boat or ship, into the construction of which it 
entered, would infallibly be lost or come to grief.f 


The following extract from a work published in 
London in 1815, but w r hich is now very rarely to be 
met with, gives so good an account of the manner in 
which springs of water are believed in these islands to 
be discovered by means of the divining rod, that we 
have no hesitation in copying it at length. 

The work bears the following title : " General View 
of the Agriculture and Present State of the Islands of 
Normandy subject to the Crown of Great Britain, 

* From George Allez, Esq., who calls the tree he speaks of " aube-epine," but 
declares it was not a hawthorn. May it not be a mountain ash or rowan tree? 

t Among the Blakeway MSS. in the Bodleian Library I found noticed these 
superstitious cures for whooping-cough. 

" Near to Button Oak, in the Forest of Bewdley, grows a thorn in the 
form of an arch, one end in the county of Salop, the other in Stafford. This 
is visited by numbers in order to make their children pass under it for the 
cure of the whooping-cough." Notes and Queries, IV. Series, III. 216. 


Oratory Window, Anneville. 


drawn up for the consideration of the Board of 
Agriculture and Internal Improvement," by Thomas 
Quayle, Esq. 

The passage in ^question will be found at p. 31. 
Baguette Divinatoire. " The opinion still prevails in 
Jersey, of a power, possessed by certain individuals, of 
discovering by means of a rod of hazel or of some few 
trees, in what spot springs of water may be found. A 
respectable farmer in the parish of St. Sauveur is 
persuaded that he is endowed with this faculty, of 
which he says he discovered himself to be possessed in 
consequence of observing and imitating the ceremonies 
employed for a similar purpose by an emigrant priest. 
The farmer, on repeating these himself, found them 
equally efficacious, and afterwards received from the 
priest instructions for his exercise of the water-finding 

He first removes from his person every particle of 
metal. A slender rod of hazel, terminating in two 
twigs, the whole about ten inches in length, is taken 
into both hands, one holding each twig. The forked 
point of the rod, and palms of the hands, as closed, 
are turned upwards. The operator then walks forward, 
with his eye directed on the forked end of the rod. 
When he approaches a spot where a spring is 
concealed, the elevated point of the rod begins to wave 
and bend downwards ; at the spot itself it becomes 

On the 28th of August, 1812, these ceremonies were 
practised in the presence of three gentlemen, then and 
still unconvinced of the existence of any such power. 
The farmer had, at their request, civilly left his 
harvest, and repeated his practice for their satisfaction. 
He first held the rod over his own well, where it did 


not bend, in consequence, as he asserted, of the spring 
not being perennial. He then slowly walked forward 
with the rod of hazel held in his hands ; at a 
particular spot, near his own dwelling, the forked end 
of the rod began to be agitated and droop downward ; 
at length, as he proceeded, it became nearly or quite 
inverted. He then marked the spot, walked away, 
and, setting off in another direction, returned toward 
the same spot. When he arrived near it, the end of 
the rod again began to droop, and, at the spot, 
was, as before, inverted. When he was proceeding, 
the persons present carefully watched his hands, but 
could not discern any motion in either, or any other 
visible means by which the rod could be affected. 
One of them took the rod into his own hands, and, 
repeating the same practice over the same ground, 
the rod did not bend. 

"Whether under the designated spot a spring exists 
or not was not examined; probably there may, quite 
apart from any virtue in the Baguette divinatoire. 

11 On several occasions the farmer has been requested 
to seek for water, and it has not only been found, 
but nearly at the depth which he indicated. He is 
a man of good character, of simple manners, obliging 
and communicative. Being in easy circumstances, he 
exercises his art without reward. The priest had 
communicated some rules, to enable him to judge of 
the exact distance of the water from the surface. 
These, he observes, proved fallacious, and the only 
guide he has for judging of the depth of the water, 
is his observation of the distance between the spot 
at which the forked end of the rod begins to be 
agitated, and that at which, when he arrives, the 
rod becomes wholly inverted." 

B B 

418 QVEBtiSE? FOLK-LORfl. 

It will be observed that Quayle does not assert 
that he himself saw the farmer practise his art, but 
merely that it had been witnessed by three gentlemen 
in 1812. The copy of Quayle's work, however, from 
which the extract was made, contains a very 
interesting marginal note in pencil, in the handwriting 
of a former owner of the book, Peter Le Pelley, Esq, 
Seigneur of Sark, who was, unfortunately, drowned 
by the capsizing of a boat in which he was crossing 
from that island to Guernsey in March, 1839. He 
says : 

" I have seen it practised by Mr. Moullin, of Le 
Ponchez, at Sark and Brechou ; and at Brechou the 
forked stick became so inverted that it split at the 
fork. He did it in my presence on gold, silver, and 
water, and the rod inverted over them. He first 
rubbed his hands with the substance to be sought 
for, and, if water, dipped his hands in - it, and held 
his two thumbs on the extremity of the forks. That 
there is a virtue in the using of the Baguette 
divinatoire is incontestable, the reason I deem un- 
known. May not electricity or magnetism be 
concerned in it ? It turned in the hands of some 
Sarkmen who previously were ignorant of possessing 
that power. Ergo it is independent of the will. 

" On Mr. Moullin's indication, who told me I should 
find water at twenty to twenty-two feet at Brechou, 
I had a well dug. The men blasted all the way 
through the solid rock without finding any water, 
and at nineteen to twenty feet, on making a hole 
with a jumper, the water sprang up and filled the 
well. Mr. Moullin found a ring that had been lost 
by means of the Baguette divinatoire" 

Brechou, mentioned in this note, is a small islet 


or dependency of Sark, more generally known by the 
name of 1'Ile des Marchants, a name it derived 
from some former proprietors, members of the ancient 
Guernsey family of Le Marchant ; and for those 
who are unacquainted with the art of quarrying, it 
may not be amiss to explain that a "jumper" is 
an iron tool with which holes are bored in the rock 
for the purpose of blasting it with gunpowder, and 
so facilitating its removal piecemeal. 

The writer of the present compilation had an 
opportunity of witnessing experiments with the 
divining rod, when attending, in September, 1875, at 
Guingamp, in Brittany, a meeting of the "Association 
Bretonne," a combination of the Agricultural and 
Archaeological Societies of that Province. The place 
where the experiments were made was a piece of 
grass-land at the head of a small valley, and the 
course of an underground stream seemed to be traced 
by the deflections of the rod, until it pointed almost 
perpendicularly downwards over a certain spot in the 
garden of a neighbouring chateau, where, we were 
told, there was no doubt a strong spring would be 
found at no great distance from the surface, which, 
taking into consideration the nature of the locality, 
seemed highly probable. It is certain that in the 
hands of some who had never seen the experiment 
performed before, and who at first professed incredulity, 
the rod appeared ready to twist itself out of * their 
grasp as soon as they drew near to the place where 
water was supposed to be, while with others, who 
were disposed to believe only the evidence of what 
they witnessed with their own eyes, the mysterious 
twig remained perfectly still. No attempt at deceit 
could be detected. The persons who made the 

B B 2 


experiment were gentlemen, and men of education, 
although, as Bretons, not perhaps quite free from 
that tinge of superstitious feeling which is so charac- 
teristic of all Celtic nations. The writer is bound to 
add that, neither in his own hands, nor in those of 
his companion and fellow countryman, was the 
slightest effect produced, although they were carefully 
instructed how to hold the rod, and they went over 
the very same ground where, in the hands of others, 
the rod had been visibly affected. 

It is not irrelevant to add that in Cornwall, and 
other mining countries, the divining rod is said to 
be used for the purpose of discovering and tracing 
veins of metalliferous ore. 


Few insects besides the bee and the silk-worm 
have been pressed into the service of man at least 
in such a manner as to be looked upon as 
domesticated and of these the bee, from its superior 
intelligence, and the striking fact of its living in 
community, with the semblance of a well-organised 
government, has, from the earliest times, attracted 
the attention and excited the interest of mankind. 
It is asserted by those who keep these useful insects, 
as well as by naturalists who have made them their 
especial study, that they recognise their masters and 
the members of their families, and that these may 
approach them with impunity when a stranger would 
run great risk of being stung. If this is really the 
case, it is not difficult to conceive how, among a 
people rude and ignorant, and yet observant of the 
phenomena of nature, the bee should come to be 
regarded with particular respect. It is probably from 


a feeling of this kind that the custom arose of 
informing the bees when a death occurs in a family. 
The correct way of performing the ceremony is this. 
One of the household must take the door-key, and, 
proceeding to the hives, knock with it, and give 
notice to the bees in a whisper of the sad event 
which has just taken place, affixing, at the same 
time, a small shred of black crape or other stuff to 
each of the hives. If this formality is omitted, it is 
believed that the bees will die, or forsake the place. 
The same custom exists in other countries, but in 
Guernsey it is also thought proper to give them 
notice of weddings, and to deck the hives with white 

A swarm of bees ought not to be sold for money, 
if you wish it to prosper. It should be given or 
exchanged for something of equal value. A money 
price is, however, sometimes agreed for, but in 
this case the sum must not be paid in any baser 
metal than gold. In following a swarm of bees, 
besides beating on pots and pans to make them 
settle, it is customary to call out to them " Align' ous, 
mes p'tits, align 1 ous"* 

* From J. de Garis, Esq., J. L. Mansell, Esq., and others. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. Various Editor's Notes on the subject of Charms and Spells will be found in 
Appendix C. 


folk JKetirtne an& Iwtlj Craft. 

" A certain shepherd lad, 
Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd 
In every virtuous plant and healing herb, 
That spreads her verdant leaf to th' morning ray." 


IN days gone by, before the invention of 
Morrison's pills, Holloway's ointment, and 
other infallible remedies, no farm was with- 
out its plot of medicinal herbs, skilful combinations 
of which secrets handed down from one old wife or 
village doctor to another were supposed to be capable 
of curing all the ills to which poor suffering humanity 
is heir, to say nothing of the various diseases 
affecting horses, oxen, swine, and other domestic 

Nine varieties of herbs was the number usually 
cultivated, a number which, like three and seven, is 
generally supposed to have some occult and mystic 
virtues. As to the herbs themselves it is not easy 
at the present day, when old traditions are rapidly 
passing away, to obtain a correct list of them, but 
the following is as correct as we can make it. 

La Poumillibre, or Helleborus viridis. Metivier, in 
his Dictionary, page 401, says of this plant that it 
was originally held in great veneration by the Greeks 



and Romans. He also says that it was used in cases 
of consumption in cattle by our local veterinary 
doctors. They -pierced the dewlap or the ear of the 
affected animal, and inserted in the hole one of the 
small roots of this plant. This induced an abundant 
suppuration, which sometimes proved beneficial. 

La Cassidone, or French lavender. Boiste, in his 
dictionary, says that its flowers and leaves promote 
salivation. There is a proverb to the effect that : 

" L'hyssope tout ma' dtveloppe 
La cassidoune tout ma' detrone." 

Le Rosmarin, or rosemary. It is considered 
unlucky not to have a plant of rosemary in one's 
garden, but it is a plant that should never be bought, 
but grown for you, and presented by a friend and 

La Petite Sauche, or small-leaved sage. 

Le Grand Consoul, or comfrey. Of this the root 
is the part used. 

La Hue. Rue, which was supposed to have a 
potent effect on the eyes, and bestow second sight. 

L'Alliene, or wormwood. 

La Marjolaine, or marjoram, and 

La Campana, or vervain, the "holy herb" of the 

This list by no means exhausts the plants possessed 
of healing powers. 

George Metivier T in his Souvenirs Historiques, 
chapter IV. and II., speaks of a sacred briar, called 
" pied-de-chat," worn as a waist-belt as an infallible 
talisman against witchcraft. When a man was 
afflicted with boils, he had to pass, fasting and in 
silence, for nine consecutive mornings, under an arch 
of this same briar. The green sprigs of broom, 


however, are believed to be equally efficacious in 
averting the evil influence of spells. 

In planting a bed of the smaller herbs, to render 
them thoroughly efficacious they should be planted 
under a volley of minor oaths, such as " goderabetin " 
or "godzamin." 'It is not expedient that the oaths 
should be too blood curdling. 

George Metivier alludes to this, and says he 
himself knew old gardeners who made a constant 
practice of this prehistoric method, and quotes 
Pliny, Vol. X., p. 77 : " He was enjoined to sow 
(basil) with curses and oaths, and then, so that it 
should succeed, to beat the ground." 


That the belief in touching for King's Evil 
prevailed in the island is evident from the following 

" Extraits des Comptes des Diacres de 1'Eglise de 
la Ville, contenus dans un Livre en la possession du 
Procureur des Pauvres de cette paroisse, endosse * Aux 
Pauvres de la Ville.' " 

" Le Vendredy, 24 Aout, 1677, Ton a trouve dans 
le tronq la somme de deux cents vingt livres tournois 
en or, argent, sols marquez, et doubles. Item, vingt 
et quatre livres tournois, qui ont ete donnees a la 
veuve de Nicolas Corbel pour son enfant, qui est 
incomode des ecrouelles, et qui s'en va a Londres 
pour estre touche" de sa Ma tg ." 

" Le 26 Aout, 1678, a ete tire hors du tronq la 

EDITOR'S NOTE. " MAL DE POULE." In St. Martin's parish lived an old woman who had 
an infallible cure for sick headaches. The patient was put to bed, and a live chicken, 
with its beak stuffed with parsley, enveloped in a cloth, was tied on his head. She then 
muttered a prayer over it, and tied it again, still more firmly, round the patient's forehead, 
AS the chicken died (he headache ceased. From Miss' Tftoutr(e, 



soe de trente livres tournois, qui ont ete delivr^s & 
Caterine de Garis, feme de Jean Hairon, pour aller 
en Angleterre y faire toucher par Sa Majeste une 
fillette qui est affligee des ecrouelles. La d te soe' 
luy ayant ete alloiiee par consentement des officiers 
de 1'Eglise." 

" Le 26 me de Mars, 1688, par ordre de Messrs, les 
Collecteurs des Pauvres de la Ville, j'ay balay a 
Anne, felne de Pierre De Lahee, 12 livres tournois 
pour luy aider a aller faire toucher son enfant du 
Mai du Roy, et est des deniers des Pauvres." 


" In winter tedious nights sit by the fire, 
With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales." 

King Richard II. 

HEN, in former days, neighbours were in the 
habit of meeting together on such occasions 
as " la grande querrue," " la longue veille" 
or the more ordinary " veillees" at which the women 
of the neighbourhood, young and old, used to assemble 
in turn at each other's houses, and ply their knitting 
needles by the light of a single lamp and the 
warmth of a single hearth, thereby economising oil 
and fuel, it was customary to break the monotony 
of the conversation by calling on each of the company 
in turn to relate some tale or anecdote. Most of 
these are simple enough, but in the mouth of a 
skillful story-teller are still capable of exciting a 
laugh among the unsophisticated audiences to whom 
they are addressed. 

A favourite class of stories were those in which 
the inhabitants of the sister islands of Jersey, 
Alderney, and Sark, were held up to ridicule, and the 
following tales, trifling and absurd as they are, may 
suffice to give some idea, of this sort of narrative, 



Once upon a time, before the lighthouse on the 
dangerous reef of the Casquet rocks was erected, a 
vessel was wrecked on Alderney. Such occurrences 
in those days were not uncommon, but so cut off 
from intercourse with the rest of the world were 
the inhabitants of the island, that they were, for the 
most part, totally ignorant of the nature and value 
of the goods which the waves so frequently cast up 
on their inhospitable shores, and it is related that 
when a Dutch East Indiaman, laden with cinnamon, 
was wrecked on the coast, the people rejoiced in the 
seasonable supply of fuel that was afforded them, 
and employed the precious bundles of aromatic bark 
in heating their ovens. 

On the occasion, however, to which our present 
story refers, among the articles saved from the 
wreck there was a barrel, which, on being opened, 
was found to contain a number of small packages 
carefully done up in paper. Some of these were 
opened and proved to be needles of various sizes, 
but the oldest inhabitant had never seen anything 
of the sort, and many were the speculations as to 
what they could possibly be. A general meeting of 
the islanders was called to deliberate, and many 
conjectures were hazarded. At last the opinion of 
an old grey-headed man prevailed. He expressed it 
to be his firm conviction that the strange commodity 
could be nothing else but the seed of some new 
kind of herb or useful root, and that the best thing 
to be done was to make choice of one of the most 
fertile spots on the Blaies, and to proceed forthwith 
to plough and sow, 


His advice was received with acclamation, and 
immediately acted upon, but alas for their hopes ! 
Spring came, and nothing but an unusually fine crop 
of weeds always too common appeared on the 
carefully-tilled land.* 



It is not easy to understand why it should be so, 
but it is nevertheless a fact that the inhabitants of 
Jersey, although conceiving themselves a far superior 
race, have always looked with eyes of envy and 
jealousy on the smaller and less pretentious island of 
Guernsey. Perhaps the greater commercial prosperity 
which the possession of a good roadstead and port 
conferred on the latter at a time when Jersey could 
boast of neither, and the advantages arising in 
consequence from a freer intercourse with strangers, 
in days when these islands were almost cut off from 
the rest of the world, may have contributed to 
produce and keep alive these feelings. Certain it is 
that the Jerseymen have at all times had the 
reputation of being always ready, when an opportunity 
presented itself, to play a bad turn to their neigh- 
bours of Guernsey. 

It is said that three audacious mariners, who had 
come over from the larger island with a cargo of 
agricultural produce, after disposing of their wares to 
good advantage, and having indulged perhaps a little 

* " Semer des Aiguilles." See Proverbes du Pays de Beam, page 17. 

" Semia Agulhes Semer des Aiguilles. Se donner une peine inutile, faire un 
travail qui ne produira rien. En Beam, cotntne dans la Gascogne, (Blade, 
Prov.) on attribuait aux habitants de quelques villages le fait d'avoir seme deg 
aiguilles, dans 1'espoir qu'elles multiplieraient comme du ble." 

430 ffOfrHfraW FOLK-LORE. 

too freely in the excellent cider of the place, con- 
ceived the bold design of carrying away the island 
with them and joining it on to Jersey ! Could they 
succeed in effecting the annexation, what credit 
would they not gain for themselves ! What advantages 
would not accrue to their native isle ! 

Their hated rivals for so, as true Jerseymen, they 
looked on the quiet industrious inhabitants of 
Guernsey would be obliged to acknowledge their 
superiority, and submit quietly to the supremacy of 
the larger isle. 

They were not long in putting their project into 
execution. Maitre Ph'lip, the captain of the boat, 
gave directions to his cousin Pierre to make fast a 
hawser to one of the needle-like rocks that stand 
out so boldly from the extremity of St. Martin's 
Point. The order was obeyed, the wind was fair, all 
sails w r ere hoisted and they steered towards Jersey, 
singing out in full chorus : 

" Hale, Pierre ! Hale, Jean ! 
Guernsi s'en vient ! ' 

They made sure that Guernsey could not resist 
the tug, and that the morning light would find it 
stranded in St. Ouen's Bay. But they had miscalculated 
the strength of the hawser. It snapped short, and the 
sudden jerk sent them all sprawling to the bottom of 
the boat, too much bruised and discomfited to think 
of renewing their bold attempt.* 


In Guernsey it is told as a joke against their 
neighbours the Jerseymen, that when there was a 

* See Melusine, p. 321. Note (i). 





question of rebuilding the gallows, hitherto a wooden 
structure, but falling to pieces from rottenness, the 
Procureur de la Reine recommended that the uprights 
should be of stone, as more desirable, and strengthened 
his argument by saying, " It will last for ever, and 
serve for us and for our children." 

The terse form of an aphorism is not only one in 
which the proverbial philosophy of a people may be 
expressed. The idea is frequently expanded into a 
short tale or fable, and in this shape is often alluded 
to and understood, although perhaps the story or 
anecdote is unknown or forgotten. 

To give an example. The meaning of the words 
" A Cat's Paw " is perfectly comprehended by many, 
who possibly have never heard or read of the fable 
of " The Cat, the Monkey, and the Chestnuts." 

A few of these stories, as they are related in 
Guernsey, are given below. 


Although scarcely a year passes without some fact 
coming to light which shows the folly and impru- 
dence of the proceedings, it is by no means uncommon 
for old people to make over by a legal instrument, 
called " Contrat de Delaissance," the whole of their 
property to a child or other relative, on condition of 
being maintained for the rest of their days in a 
manner befitting their station in life. They have 
generally cause to repent the deed, for, even if 


kindly treated, there is a feeling of dependence, and 
a want of liberty of action, which cannot fail to be 
irksome to one who has hitherto been his own 
master, and free to act in any way he pleased. 

It is related that a man who had given over his 
estate, and all that he possessed, to an only son, 
ordered, after a time, a strong coffer, with a secure 
lock, to be made. The son indulged him in the 
fancy, wondering what he could want the box for, 
but hoping perhaps that he might have kept back 
some hoard of money or other valuables he wished 
to secure. The old man kept his own secret. Not 
a soul but himself knew what the box contained. 
At last he died. The son hastened to open the 
coffer, hoping to find a treasure. What was his 
astonishment and disappointment at finding only a 
large mallet, such as is used for driving in the 
stakes to which the cattle are tethered. A writing 
attached to it explained the old man's meaning. The 
person who related the story had forgotten the exact 
words, but it was a rude rhyme, beginning thus : 
" Ce maillot ou un plus gros s'il le faut." * 
The substance of the whole was that the mallet 
would be advantageously employed in knocking out 
the brains of the man who was fool enough to 
dispossess himself, during his lifetime, of the control 
of his own property. f 

*From Rachel Du Port. 

t " He that gives away all 

Before he is dead, 

Let 'em take this hatchet 

And knock him on y e head." 

Notes and Queries, IV. Series, Vol. III., pp. 526 and 580. Vol. IV., p. 213. 
See Gentleman's Magazine Library. Popular Superstitions. The Holy Maul, 
p. 181. Compare representation of a hammer or pickaxe, sculptured on threshold 
of west door of Vale Church. 

c c 


The following legend, from the supplement to the 
Illustrated News, February 7th, 1874, seems to have 
a common origin with the preceding. 

Jehan Connaxa was one of the merchant princes 
of Antwerp, who is supposed to 'have lived in the 
fifteenth century. His only children were two 
daughters, whom he had married to young noblemen. 
Not content with the handsome dowries he had given 
them on their marriage, and too impatient to wait 
for the time when all his vast wealth would become 
theirs by inheritance, they persuaded him to make 
it over to them during his life-time. For a short 
period he was treated with due consideration, but it 
was not long before he began to find that his 
presence in the houses of his sons-in-law was irksome 
to them and their wives ; and at last he was plainly 
told that he must not expect any longer to find a 
home with them. Under these circumstances he hired 
a small residence, and turned over in his mind how 
he could manage so as to recover the position in 
his daughters' houses which he had formerly occupied. 
At last he hit on this expedient. He invited his 
sons-in-law and their wives to dine with him on a 
certain day, and, when he was quite sure they would 
come, he went to an old friend, a rich merchant, 
and borrowed from him the sum of one thousand 
crowns for twenty-four hours, telling him to keep 
the transaction a profound secret, but to send a 
servant to his house the next day at a certain hour 
to fetch it back. Accordingly, the next day, when his 
daughters and their husbands w r ere seated at his 
table, a message came that his friend had sent for 
the sum of money he had promised. He pretended 
to '"be displeased at being interrupted in the midst 

STOBY TELLltfG. 435 

of his meal, but left the table, went into an adjoining 
apartment, and returned with a sack of money, from 
which he counted out the full sum of a thousand 
crowns, and delivered it to the messenger. The 
astonishment of his guests, who were not aware of 
how the money had come into his possession, was 
extreme, and, believing him to be still the owner of 
unbounded wealth, his sons-in-law insisted on his 
taking up his abode with them alternately for the 
rest of his days. Each vied with the other in 
showing him every attention, hoping thus to secure 
the greater share of the inheritance. He always 
brought with him a heavy strong box with three 
locks, which was supposed to contain untold wealth. 
At last, the time when he was to quit this world 
arrived, and on his death-bed he sent for his two 
sons-in-law and the Prior of a neighbouring Convent 
of Jacobins, and delivered to them the three keys of 
the box, which, he said, contained his will, but with 
strict injunctions that it was not to be opened till 
forty days after his funeral had elapsed. Wishing, 
however, as he said, to do good while he was yet 
alive, he begged his sons-in-law to advance a large 
sum for immediate distribution among the poor, and 
also to pay another large sum to the Prior to 
secure the prayers of the Church for his soul. 
This was done willingly, in anticipation of the 
expected rich inheritance, and the old man was 
sumptuously buried. At the expiration of the forty 
days the box was opened with due formality, and 
was found to contain a heap of old iron, lead, and 
stones, on the top of which was a large cudgel, with 
a parchment rolled round it, on which was written 
the will in these terms : " Ego Johannes Connaxa 

C C 2 


tale condo testamentum, at qui sui curd relictd, 
alterius cur am susceperit, mactetur hdc clavd." 

LE EAT 6. 

When the means of education were not so good 
or so plentiful in Guernsey as they are in the present 
day, it was customary, with the better class of 
farmers, to send their sons to school in England for 
a year or two, in order that they might acquire, 
together with a more correct knowledge of the 
English tongue, such acquaintance with the ways of 
the world as might fit them to enter upon the active 
duties of life on their return home. This object, we 
may suppose, was to a certain extent gained, but, 
like the monkey who had seen the world, many of 
these youths returned to their native isle with an 
inflated idea of their own consequence, and affecting 
to despise and ignore all that had been familiar to 
them from their earliest childhood. 

It is said of one of these young men, that, after 
a residence of no long duration in England, he 
pretended, on his return, to have completely forgotten 
the names of some of the most common farming 
implements, and, indeed, to have almost lost the use 
of his mother tongue. His father was in despair, 
for it was evident that if the boy could not converse 
with the labourers, he would be of little or no 
assistance in directing the farming operations. A 
lucky accident set the father's mind at rest on this 
score. His son, in passing through the farmyard, 
put his foot on a rake that was lying on the ground, 
partly hidden by some straw. The handle flew up 
and hit him a smart blow on the forehead, upon 
which, forgetting his pretended ignorance, he ex- 


claimed, in good Guernsey-French, " An Guyablle 
seit le rate" ("Devil take the rake.") His father, 
who was standing by, congratulated him on the 
miraculous recovery of his memory, and begged him. 
henceforth not to forget "sen rate." The proverbial 
saying "II n'a pas roublliai sen rate," ("He has not 
forgotten his rake,") is still applied to a person who 
remembers what he learned in his youth.* 


The evils that may result from being over particular, 
and the wisdom of letting well alone, are exemplified 
by the story of Eachel Catel and her petticoat. This 
respectable matron or spinster for tradition gives us 
no clue to her state in life was engaged in 
fashioning a petticoat. She cut it out, and found it 
somewhat too long. She cut again, and now it was 
too short. When, therefore, a thing has been spoilt 
by too much care or meddling, old people will shake 
their heads and say : " Ch'est coum le cotillon de 
Bdche Cdtel. A' le copit et il etait trop long. A' 
le copit derechefj et il etait trop court" 


One day a cat and a fox were travelling together 
and chatting of one thing and another as they jogged 
on their way. 

At last says the cat to the fox : 

" You are always talking of your cleverness. How 
many cunning devices have you to escape from your 
numerous enemies ? " 

* See a story precisely similar in its incidents in that curious collection 
MacTaggart's Scottish Gallwidian Encyclopedia, under the word " Claut." The 
story must be an ancient one, to be told in places so far apart as Galloway 
and Guernsey, and speaking totally different languages. 


" Oh ! " answered the fox, "fen ai une pouquie, ( I 
carry a whole sack full,) but you, Mistress Puss, pray 
tell me, how many have you?" 

" Alas," replied the cat, " I can boast but of one." 

Shortly after this conversation they saw a large 
fierce-looking dog advancing towards them. It was 
but the affair of a minute for puss to climb into 
the nearest tree and hide herself among the branches, 
while Eeynard took refuge in the entrance of a drain 
that was close at hand. 

Unluckily the drain narrowed so suddenly that his 
body only was concealed, and his long bushy tail 
was left exposed. The dog seized on this, and caused 
poor Eeynard to cry out pitifully for help. Puss, from 
her safe retreat among the branches, looked down, 
and called out to her unfortunate companion : 

" Now's the time to make use of your many 
devices, delie done ta pouquel" ("Why don't you 
untie your sack ? ") * 


The Guernsey workman is industrious and thrifty, 
working hard when it is on his own account, but 
apt to be slow and disinclined to do more work 
than what is absolutely necessary to save his credit, 
when employed by others. There is a certain amount 
of calculation in this. Idleness or laziness are not 
the only motives. He knows that so long as the 
job in hand lasts, he will be paid his day's wages, 
and therefore he is not in a hurry to get it finished. 
His calculations go even a little beyond this ; for a 
master workman to whom an indifferent person made 

* From John Rougier, Esq. 
See also Revue des Traditions Pofulaires, Vol. I., p. 20 1, 




the remark that the work he was executing was not 
of a quality to last many years, made the ingenuous 
reply, "Do you suppose I would willingly take the 
bread out of my children's mouths ? " implying that 
if the work were done in too substantial or durable 
a manner, there would be nothing left for those who 
were to come after him to gain their living by. 

A good story is told among the country people, of 
a farm labourer, who, when put to clear out the 
weeds from a field, was observed always to leave 
some of the most thriving standing. One day his 
master remonstrated with him, and got for answer, 
"Weeds are bread." No reply was made at the 
moment, but when meal-time came, and the soup 
was served out, a bowl full of weeds was handed to 
the workman with the remark :" Since weeds are 
bread, eat that, for you get no more to-day." It is 
said that the lesson was understood, and that for 
the future the farm servant performed his allotted 
task in a more conscientious way. * 

* From George Allez, Esq. 


" Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was said, tanquam tabula naufragii, when 
industrious persons, by an exact and scrupulous diligence and observation, out of monuments, 
names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages 
of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge 
of time." Bacon's Advancement of Learning. 


LTHOUGH the following story is entirely 
forgotten in Guernsey, and indeed may 
possibly never have been popularly known 
in the island, it is entitled, from its legendary and 
romantic character, to a place in this collection. It 
is related by 1 Geoffrey of Monmouth in his British 
History, Book XII. Ch. 4. 

It is necessary to premise that Edwin, the first of 
the Anglo-Saxon Kings who embraced Christianity, 
having quarrelled with Cadwalla, Sovereign of North 
Wales,- attacked and defeated him at Widdington, near 
Morpeth. Edwin pursued Cadwalla into Wales, and 
chased him into Ireland. These events happened about 
the year 630 A.D. The story itself shall be told in 
the words employed by Geoffrey in his account of 
Cadwalla's exile, as we find them translated in Bohn's 
" Antiquarian Library." 

" Cadwalla, not knowing what course to take, was 


almost in despair of ever returning. At last it came 
into his head to go to Salomon, King of the 
Armorican Britons, and desire his assistance and 
advice, to enable him to return to his kingdom. 
And so, as he was steering towards Armorica, a 
strong tempest rose on a sudden, which dispersed 
the ships of his companions, and in a short time 
left no two of them together. The pilot of the King's 
ship was seized immediately with so. great a fear, 
that, quitting the stern, he left the vessel to the 
disposal of fortune, so that all night it was tossed 
up and down in great danger by the raging waves. 
The next morning they arrived at a certain island 
called Garnareia* where, with great difficulty, they 
got ashore. Cadwalla was forthwith seized with such 
grief for the loss of his companions, that, for three 
days and nights together, he refused to eat, but lay 
sick upon his bed. The fourth day he was taken 
with a very great longing for some venison, and, 
causing Brian (his nephew) to be called, made him 
acquainted with it. Whereupon Brian took his bow 
and quiver, and went through the island, that if he 
could light on any wild beast, he might make booty 
of it. And when he had walked over the whole 
island without finding what he was in quest of, he 
was extremely concerned that he could not gratify 
his master's desire, and was afraid his sickness 
would prove mortal if his longing were not satisfied. 
He, therefore, fell upon a new device, and cut a 
piece of flesh out of his own thigh, which he roasted 

* As some readers may be unable to detect "Guernsey" in " Gamareia," it 
may be as well to state that " Ghernerhuia" " Gerneria" " Guemnerut," 
and " Gernereye," are all names given to the island in ancient documents. The 
last indeed is found on the ancient seal ot the bailiwick. 


upon a spit, and carried to the King for venison. 
The King, thinking it to be real venison, began to 
eat of it to his great refreshment, admiring the 
sweetness of it, which he fancied exceeded any flesh 
he had ever tasted before. At last, when he had 
fully satisfied his appetite, he became more cheerful, 
and in three days was perfectly well again. Then, the 
wind standing fair, he got ready his ship, and, hoisting 
sails, they pursued their voyage and arrived at the city 
Kidaleta (St. Malo). From thence they went to King 
Salomon, by whom they were received kindly and 
with all suitable respect ; and, as soon as he had 
learned the occasion of their coming, he made them 
a promise of assistance." 

The chronicler subsequently relates how Brian killed 
the second-sighted magician of Edwin. Cadwalla 
returned to Britain, and, with the aid of the Saxon 
Penda, King of Mercia, conquered and killed Edwin. 
He was afterwards triumphant in fourteen great battles 
and sixty skirmishes with the Angles, but finally 
perished, with the flower of his army, in battle with 
Oswald, ruler of the Saxon kingdom of Bernicia. 


As the inhabitants of Guernsey may be presumed 
to be better acquainted with the chronicles of their 
own Duchy of Normandy than with those of the 
ancient Britons, it is not improbable that the follow- 
ing legendary tale, related of Duke Richard, surnamed 
" Sans Peur," may be known to some of them. The 
Chronique de Normandie, printed at Rouen in 1576, 
gives it in words of which the following- is a close 
translation : 

" Once upon a time, as Duke Bichard was riding 


from one of his castles to a manor, where a very 
beautiful lady was residing, the Devil attacked him, 
and Eichard fought with, and vanquished him. After 
this adventure, the Devil disguised himself as a 
beautiful maiden richly adorned, and appeared to him 
in a boat at Granville, where Eichard then was. 
Eichard entered into the boat to converse with, and 
contemplate the beauty of, this lady, and the Devil 
carried away the said Duke Eichard to a rock in the 
sea in the island of Guernsey, where he was found." 
Perhaps the marks of cloven feet, which have been 
found deeply imprinted in the granite* in more than 
one spot in the island, may be attributed to this visit. 


If the two legendary tales, which we have just 
related, are unknown to the present generation, it is 
not so with the well-authenticated fact of the temporary 
residence in Guernsey of that turbulent ecclesiastic, 
Mauger, Archbishop of Eouen, uncle of William the 

All the Norman chroniclers agree in telling us 
that, although the Pope had granted a dispensation, 
this audacious prelate ventured to excommunicate his 
Sovereign for having contracted a marriage with 
Matilda, daughter of the Count of Flanders, an 
alliance within the degrees of affinity prohibited by 
the Church. Mauger's insolence did not remain 
unpunished. The Pope sent a Legate to Normandy, 

* Th2 stone at Jerbourg, which is said to bear the mark left by the Devil's 
claw, stands in a hedge on the right hand side of the road, where the rise 
towards Doyle's column begins. It is a large mass of white quartz, and has 
the black mark of the Devil's claw imprinted on it, From J, Richardson 
Tardif, Esq. 


the bishops of the province were assembled, and his 
treason to his Sovereign, and contempt of the Papal 
authority, were punished by his deposition from his 
archiepiscopal throne, and banishment to the island 
of Guernsey. Some historians assign, as a further 
reason for his disgrace, the immorality of his life, 
and his prodigal expenditure, which led him, not only 
to waste the revenues of the Church, but even to 
sell the consecrated vessels, and the ornaments of 
the sanctuary. 

Tradition points out the spot in the neighbourhood 
of that romantic little creek, known by the anglicised 
name of Saints' Bay, but which, in ancient documents, 
is called " La Contree de Being" where the deposed 
prelate lived during his enforced sojourn in Guernsey. 
Here, it is said, he became acquainted with a noble 
damsel named Grille, by whom he had several 
children, one of whom, Michael de Bayeux, accom- 
panied Bohemond of Austria to Palestine, and distin- 
guished himself greatly. 

Common report accused Mauger of being addicted 
to magical arts, and of having intercourse with a 
familiar spirit called " Tlioret" a name which brings 
to mind the thunderer Thor, one of the principal 
deities of his Scandinavian ancestors. By means of 
this imp, it was believed, he had the faculty of 
predicting future events. 

Having embarked one day, with the design of 
reaching the coast of Normandy, and having arrived 
at St. Vaast, he addressed the master of the ship 
in these words: "I know for certain that one of 
us two will this day be drowned ; let us land." The 
master paid no attention to what was said, but 
continued his course. It was summer, the weather 


was extremely hot, and the Archbishop was attired 
in very loose raiment. The vessel struck, Mauger 
.endeavoured to leave the ship, but, becoming entangled 
in his garments, fell into the sea, and was drowned 
before any assistance could be given. When the tide 
retired, search was made for the body, and it was 
found wedged in between two rocks, in an upright 
position. The sailors carried it to Cherbourg, where 
it was buried. - t - 

It is possible that the prelate might have been 
entirely forgotten in the place of his exile, had it 
not been that a very numerous family, bearing his 
name, still exists in the island, and claims to be 
descended from him. No name indeed is more 
common in the parish of St. Martin de la Belleuse, 
and especially in the neighbourhood of Saint, than 
that of Mauger. An authentic document, the 
" Extent" of Edward III., proves that a family of 
this name held land in this parish in 1331.* All 
who bear the name, even in the humblest ranks of 
society, have heard of the Archbishop, and pride 
themselves in their supposed descent from him. Nor 
is this belief confined to Guernsey, for in Jersey 
also, where a branch of the family has long existed, 
the same idea prevails. 

There is also extant an imperfect pedigree of the 
house of Mauger, of Jobourg, near Cape La Hague, 
in Normandy, which connects them with the insular 
family, but endeavours to get rid of the stigma of 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * And at the Assizes held in Guernsey in 1319, a " Rauf Mauger " 
appears among the landowners of St. Martin's parish. The same name" Rauf Mauger " 
appears in the Extent of 1331 ; "Richard Mauger" in a Perchage of Blanchelande, (undated, 
but made before 1364). In 1364 another " Rauf Mauger " appears among the Jurymen of St. 
Martin's summoned to adjudicate on the rights of the Abbot of Blanchelande ; and a Richard 
Mauger, of St. Martin's parish, is mentioned in the " Bille de Partage " of Denis Le 
Marchant in 1393. 





illegitimacy, which would attach to the progeny of 
an ecclesiastic, by the invention of an imaginary 
brother, who accompanfed Mauger in his banishment, 
and from whom, and not from the Archbishop, they 
pretend to deduce their descent. The family of 
Guille, long established in the island of Guernsey, 
and in the parish of St. Martin's, claims the question- 
able honour of having produced the fair Gille, whose 
charms captivated the unscrupulous prelate. 

There is one fact, however, of which the family 
of Mauger, of Guernsey, has just cause to be proud, 
and that is the daring and successful exploit of one 
of them in the service of the descendant of their 
ancient Dukes. An extract from a manuscript register 
of the Cathedral of Coutances, said to be preserved 
in the British Museum, tells us how, on Midsummer 
Night, in the year of grace 1419, Jacques Mauger 
arrived from Guernsey with his men, at the port of 
Agon, at the entrance of the river, and took by 
escalade the fortress of Mont Martin, near Coutances, 
and how Henry V., King of England, then in posses- 
sion of the greater part of Normandy, rewarded the 
gallant act by a gift of the Seigneurie of Bosques, 
and the permission to bear henceforth on his shield 
the cross of the blessed knight of St. George, in a 
field argent, with his own paternal arms, two 
chevrons sable, in the first and fourth quarters, and, 
in the second and third the arms of Bosques, a lion 
rampant, also sable. 

It may not be uninteresting to some to know that 
the Hampshire and Isle of Wight family of Major 
were originally Maugers from one of the Channel 
Islands, and that Kichard Cromwell, son of the 
Protector, married one of them. 


It may be as well to give here a copy of the 
pedigree of Mauger, of Jobourg, in Normandy. 

" Extrait de la Genealogie de la Famille du Mauger 
a Jobourg en Normandie au Cap La Hague. 

" Le Due de Normandie, nomme Guillaume le 
Conquerant, eleva son cousin d'Evreux, nomme 
Mauger, a 1'Archeveche de Eouen en la troisieme 
ann6e de son regne en Normandie. Le Seigneur 
Archeveque, menant une vie non conforme a sa 
dignite, attira sur lui la haine du Due, son bienfai- 
teur, qui le fit ruleguer a 1'tle de Greneseye ; il prit 
terre en ce lieu avec son frere Gaudier Mauger, sur 
la cote et paroisse- de St. Ma.rtin, et apres avoir 
passe qnelques annees en ce lieu il peri au ras de 
Barrieur, apres avoir predit sa mort. Son frere 
Gautier eut plusieurs fils naturels, dont deux nommes 
Leopold et Theodore : Leopold epousa Pauline de 
Carteret, fille et seule heritiere de Samuel de Carteret, 
Ecuyer, Seigneur du Castel, et Theodore ue maria 
point, et laissa deux fils et une fille naturels, 1'un 
nomme Paul, 1'autre nomme Kodolphe, et la fille 
nommee Cleotilde. Les deux fils furent maries ; 1'un 
epousa Sandirez Lampeirier ou Lampereur de Jersey, 
et Eodolphe epousa Marie Careye de Greneseye. Paul 
eut plusieurs fils, dont deux nomme Alexandre et 
Gautier, comme son premier pere, lequel fut chasse 
de I'lle de Jersey, avec deux des fils de Eodolphe 
qu'il avait eus de Marie Careye ; les autres enfans 
sortis de Eodolphe furent a Greneseye, demeurant 
sur 1'heritage de leur mere en 1'annee 1399. Gautier 
fit plusieurs acquets a Jobourg a la Hague, ou il 
etablit sa demeure, apres avoir quitte Jersey, et fut 
marie a une des filles de Pierre de Mary, Seigneur 
de Jobourg, en 1'annee 1418. Gautier engendra 

D P 


Toussaint et Jacques, le dernier repassa a Greneseye 
pour prendre possession d'un heritage par succession, 
et Toussaint resta a Jobourg; de Toussaint naquit 
Fabien ; de Fabien naquit Chaille ; et Chaille engendra 
Pierre ; de Pierre Chaille, qui vivoit encore en 1570 ; 
a 1'egard de Leopold, qui avait epouse Pauline 
de Carteret, nous n'avons point, pour le present, de 
connaissance de sa genealogie. 

" Les Armoiries des Mauger (descendant de 
Guillaume le Conquerant, Due de Normandie) sont 
une ancre et des roses au dessus du dit ancre. Tire 
de la Heraudrie, et approuve du dit Due."* 


Before the invention of printing, oral tradition was 
almost the only way in which the people generally 
ignorant of writing or reading could transmit the 
recollection of facts and circumstances which they 
deemed w r orthy of being remembered ; and it was 
soon discovered that versification afforded a very 
strong aid to memory. Hence arose that species of 
metrical tale which we call a ballad. These ballads, 
passing from mouth to mouth, soon became corrupted. 
Whole verses were sometimes omitted, by which the 
thread of the story was lost or rendered obscure, 
and others were supplied by borrowing from the work 
of another bard, or by the invention of the reciter. 
Nevertheless, in the historical ballads, facts and details 
were often preserved which had escaped the notice 
of the more regular chroniclers. 

Whether, in former days, Guernsey could boast of 
any number of these metrical histories, it is now 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * The obvious inaccuracy of this pedigree can be judged by only nine 
generations being given to supply the interval of 515 years, 1055-1570. Thirty-three and a 
quarter years are generally allowed for a generation, so that to give any appearance of 
probability, at least sixteen generations would have to be accounted for. 


impossible to say. Unless we include in this category, 
a sort of " complainte," written in 1552 by the Eoman 
Catholic priests, whom the progress of the doctrines 
of the Keformation had driven out of their cures, the 
ballad of " Ivon de G-alles, on la descente des Aragousais" 
is the only one which has come down to us,* Many 
copies of it have been preserved, differing but slightly 
from each other in the main, although there are one 
or two verbal differences of some importance. Most 
of the copies conclude with the twentieth verse, but 
some have a second part, consisting of six stanzas, 
and purporting to give an account of Ivon's adventures 
after he left Guernsey, and the subsequent melancholy 
fate of himself and his fleet. As this account is 
quite different from what has come down to us in 
history, it is probably the work of some later bard, 
who wished to make the story more complete than 
he found it, and by a sort of poetical justice to 
punish Ivon and his followers for the evil they had 
inflicted on the island. 

The ballad agrees in the main with the account of 
the invasion as given by Froissart and Holinshed. The 
adventures in the second part probably relate to some 
other of the numerous descents on the island during 
the reign of Edward III., perhaps to that by Bahuchet, 
a French naval commander, about the year 1338. This 
Bahuchet landed in England, and committed great 
atrocities at Portsmouth and Southampton, for which, 
when he was taken prisoner in the great engagement 
off Sluys, in 1340, Edward ordered him to be hanged 
at the main-yard. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. I have also met with an account of the destruction of the Tower of 
Castle Cornet by lightning in 1672, in some old MSS. dated 1719, where the visitation is 
ascribed, to the sins of the people ! 

DD 2 


From Froissart's Olironides we learn that Ivon, or as 
he calls him, Yvain de Galles, was the son of a Prince 
of Wales whom Edward III. had put to death, and 
whose possessions he had seized upon. Ivon, thus dis- 
inherited, took refuge in France, where he entered into 
the service of the King, Charles V., and was by him 
entrusted with the command of ships and three thousand 
men. It appears from another part of the Chronicle, 
that Henry of Trastamara, King of Castille and Aragon, 
had supplied his ally, Charles, with a large fleet, 
well armed and manned, and it is probable that the 
galleys which Ivon commanded formed part of this 
fleet. If so, the name of " Aragousais," or men of 
Aragon, given in the ballad to the invading force, 
is accounted for. With these troops he sailed from 
Harfleur and reached Guernsey. 

Aymon, or Edmund, Eose, esquire of honour to the 
King of England, and Governor of the island, advanced 
to meet him with all the force he could muster, 
about eight hundred men. The battle was long and 
hotly contested, but ended in the discomfiture of the 
insular force, with the loss of four hundred of their 
men, and in the retreat of Aymon Eose into Castle 
Cornet, to which Ivon laid siege. Several assaults 
were made on the Castle, but, as it was strongly 
fortified and well provisioned, they were not attended 
with success. How long the siege lasted we are not 
informed, but the French King, requiring the services 
of Ivon elsewhere, and believing Castle Cornet to be 
impregnable, sent orders for the siege to be raised. 
A few years afterwards, Ivon lost his life by the 
dagger of an assassin of his own nation, a Welshman 
of the name of Lambe, apparently at the instigation 
of Eichard II. 


According to the ballad, Ivon landed his troops 
early on a Tuesday morning in Vazon Bay. A 
countryman, who had risen early to look after his 
sheep, perceived the invaders and gave the alarm, 
upon which all the inhabitants assembled and endea- 
voured to repel them, but without success. A stand 
was at last made on the hill above the town of 
St. Peter Port, and a sanguinary engagement took 
place, in which five hundred and one of both sides 
were killed. 

Tradition points to a spot near Elizabeth College 
as the scene of this encounter, and the locality to 
this day bears the name of " La Bataille." 

A deep lane, which formerly passed to the eastward 
of the strangers' burial ground, but which has been 
long filled up and enclosed within the walls of the 
cemetery, was said to owe its name of " La Ruette 
Meurtriere " to the same event. 

Towards the evening, eighty English merchants, 
probably the crews of some trading vessels arrived, 
and lent their assistance to the islanders. By means 
of this reinforcement the enemy was prevented from 
penetrating into the town, but they reached the 
shore, and, the tide being low, crossed over to 
Castle Cornet, and attacked it. 

Most of the copies of the ballad say that they 

took the Castle, "par force prindrent le Chasteau" 

but one, which has been preserved in the registers 

of the parish of St. Saviour, where it is inserted 

about the year 1638, has these words " II uouloient 

prendre le Chasteau" which seem to agree better 

with the other statements in the ballad that Ivon's 

ships came round the island by the southward, that 

they received some damage from the peasantry at 


La Corbiere, and that they re-embarked their troops 
at Bee de la Chevre, now known by the name of 
the Terres point, after which Ivon ordered them to 
make sail for St. Sampson's Harbour. 

Here they landed. Negotiations were entered on 
with Bregart, the Prior or Commissary of St. Michel 
du Valle, a dependency of the famous Abbey of 
Mont St. Michel in Normandy, and Ivon laid siege 
to the Vale Castle, whither Aymon Rose, the 
Governor of the island, whom we hear of for the 
first time, had retreated and entrenched himself. 

Summoned by Ivon to surrender, he refused, but 
agreed to sanction an arrangement which Bregart had 
made with the people, and which seems to have had 
for object to buy off the invaders by payment of a 
sum of money. 

The ballad assigns this as the origin of the charge 
on land called " champart," but it is certain that this 
species of tithe existed long before this time. 

Most of the copies end here, but some have a 
second part, of which we have already spoken, and 
which was probably written at a later period. 

It is dimcult to account for the discrepancy between 
the local account and that of Froissart and others as 
to the name of the Castle into which the Governor, 
Aymon Rose, retired, unless by the supposition that 
the historians knew Castle Cornet by name as a 
fortress deemed impregnable, and assumed, without 
further inquiry, that it must be the one in which 
the Governor entrenched himself. 

An event of so much importance was well calculated 
to make a lasting impression on the people. And to 
this day "Les Aragousais" are spoken of, and various 
traditions relating to them are repeated. It is singular, 




however, to find that with the lapse of time they 
have come to be looked upon as a supernatural race 
in fact, to be confounded with the fairies. The form 
which this traditional remembrance of them has taken 
will be found on page 204, and tends in some degree 
to confirm the idea entertained by some writers on fairy 
mythology that many of the tales related of those 
fantastic beings may be accounted for by the theory 
that they refer to an earlier race of men, gradually 
driven out by tribes more advanced in civilisation. 

The places called " La Bataille*" and " La Ruette 
Meurtriere " have already been mentioned as the spots 
where the great battle took place. The "Rouge Rue" 
leading down the hill to the westward of St. John's 
Church, is said to derive its name from the blood 
spilt on this occasion. If this really be the origin 
of the name, we may suppose that the islanders, 
retreating towards the Vale Castle, or perhaps the 
Chateau des Marais, were overtaken there, and that 
a second engagement took place. But there is reason 
to believe that the tradition relates to another locality 
in quite a different direction, which in times gone 
by bore also the name of " La Rouge Rue" but 
which has long ceased to be so called. We speak 
of the upper part of Haute ville, sloping southwards 
towards the valley of Havelet. According to the late 
Miss Lauga, who died at the advanced age of eighty- 
five, her mother, who had inherited from her ancestors 
property in this neighbourhood, always spoke of it as 
" La Rouge Rue" and said that a sanguinary battle 
had been fought in ancient days on this spot. And, 

Iso a 


indeed, this name appears in the old contracts and 
title-deeds, by which property in the neighbourhood is 
held. The consequence of its having ceased to be 
known popularly by its ancient appellation would 
naturally be that the traditionary tale of the 
name being derived from the blood spilt there would 
be transferred to another and better known locality, 
which chanced perhaps simply from the colour of 
the soil to bear the same name. 

Firearms were of such recent invention that it is 
scarcely to be supposed that any had as yet found 
their way to Guernsey. If, however, any faith can 
be placed in tradition, their use and construction 
were not totally unknown in the island, for it is 
said that the trunk of a tree was hollowed out and 
bound round with iron hoops, but that when this 
deadly weapon was loaded, no one could be found 
bold enough to fire it, until a child, ignorant of the 
risk he was incurring, was induced, by the promise 
of a cake, to perform the dangerous feat. 

It is also said that the women of the island 
contributed all their ear-rings and other jewels to buy 
off the invaders ; and it was very generally believed 
that a peculiar breed of small but strong and spirited 
horses now unfortunately extinct was derived from 
those that had escaped during the battle, and so had 
remained in the island after the Spaniards left. 

The tradition, which confounds Ivon's forces with 
the fairies, relates how all the islanders were killed, 
except a man and a boy of St. Andrew's parish, 
who concealed themselves in an oven, over the mouth 
of which a woman spread her black petticoat, and so 
escaped ; and how the conquerors, who are , described 
as a very diminutive race, married the widows and 


maidens, and so re-peopled the island. The small 
stature and dark complexion of some families are 
occasionally appealed to as proofs of this origin. 

Perhaps this tradition may be an indistinct 
recollection of a far earlier invasion and possession 
of the island by some of the piratical hordes from 
the North, that began to infest the coasts of the 
Channel as early as the beginning of the fifth 
century. These were not unlikely to have subjugated 
the men of the island, and to have taken forcible 
possession of their wives, and any tradition of the 
event might very naturally be transferred from one 
invasion to another, and come finally to be fixed on 
the last and best known. 

The ballad, of which an English translation is 
attempted, has evidently suffered much from the 
defective memory of reciters, and the carelessness of 
transcribers, so that some of the stanzas appear to 
be almost hopelessly corrupt. The main incidents of 
the story are, however, tolerably well defined. It 
seems to have been composed originally in French, 
and not in the Norman dialect used in the island. 
The stanzas consist of the unusual number of seven 
lines, of which the first and third rhyme together, 
and the second, fourth, fifth and sixth the seventh 
rhyming occasionally with the first and third, but 
more frequently standing alone. In some verses 
assonances take the place of more perfect rhymes, 
which may be adduced as a proof of the antiquity 
of the ballad. Perhaps it would not be impossible, 
by comparing the various copies, choosing the readings 
which appear least corrupt, altering here and there 
the position of a line in the stanza, or the arrange- 
ment of the words that compose it, or even sometimes 


changing a word where the exigencies of the rhyme 
seem to require it, to produce a copy that would 
offend less against the rules of prosody ; but this is 
a process which would require great care, and which 
respect for antiquity forbids us to attempt. 

We must take the ballad, with all its faults and 
imperfections, as we find it. 


Part the First. 

Draw near and listen, great and small, 

Of high and low degree, 
And hear what chance did once befall 
This island fair and free 
From warlike men, a chosen band, 
Who roamed about from land to land, 
Ploughing the briny sea. 


Evan of Wales, a valiant knight, 

Who served the King of France, 
In Saragossa's city bright 

Hired many a stalwart lance : 

One Tuesday morn at break of day, 
To land these troops in Vazon Bay, 
He bade his ships advance. 


At early dawn from quiet sleep 

John Letoc rose that day, 
To tend his little flock of sheep 
He took his lonely way, 

When lo ! upon the Vazon sands 
He saw, drawn up in warlike bands 
The foe in fierce array. 



A horse he met upon his way 

Trotting along the road, 
Strayed from the camp without delay 
The charger he bestrode, 
And soon from house to house the alarm 
He gave, crying out " to arms, quick, arm 
Through all the isle he rode. 


" To arms, to arms, my merry men all, 

To arms, for we must fight, 
Hazard your lives, both great and small, 
And put the foe to flight ; 

Hasten towards the Yazon Bay 
Hasten our cruel foes to slay, 
Or we shall die this night." 


Evan of Wales, that vent'rous knight, 

Led the foe through the land, 
But pressing forward in the fight, 
Upon a foreign strand, 

He won a garter gay, I ween, 
'Twas neither silk nor velvet sheen, 
Though crimson was the band. 


For near the mill at La Carriere, 

With halbert keen and bright, 
Young Eichard Simon, void of fear, 
Attacked the stranger knight. 

And gashed full sore his brawny thigh, 
Then smote his right hand lifted high, 
To check the daring wight. 


Above Saint Peter Port 'tis said, 

The conflict they renewed, 
Of friends and foes five hundred dead 
The grassy plain bestrewed : 
Our ladies wept most bitterly, 
Oh ! 'twas a dismal sight to see 
Their cheeks with tears bestrewed. 


Thoumin le Lorreur was in truth 

Our leader in the fray, 
But brave Ealph Holland, noble youth, 
He bore the palm away; 
Yet was he doomed his death to meet, 
The cruel foes smit off his feet, 
He died that dismal day. 


Hard blows are dealt on every side, 

The blood bedews the plain, ~ 
The footmen leap, the horsemen ride, 
O'er mountains of the slain. 
A deadly weapon, strongly bent, 
Against the foes its missiles sent, 
And wrought them death and pain. 


But eighty English merchants brave, 

Arrived at Vesper-tide, 
They rushed on shore the isle to save, 
And fought on our side : 

Our foes fatigued, began to yield, 
And leaving soon the well-fought field, 
To Heaven for mercy cried. 



To'ards Galrion they bend their course, 

And range along the bay, 
In hopes to make by fraud or force 
Into the town their way, 

But now the gallant Englishmen 
Eeturn, and on our foes again 
Their prowess they display. 


But rallying soon, th'adventurous band 

Cornet's strong towers attack, 
With ebbing tides, across the sand, 
They find an easy track, 

The beach is strewed with heaps of dead, 
The briny sea with blood is red, 
Again they are driven back. 


Many are killed, and wounded sore ; 

Meanwhile the hostile fleet, 
Coasting along the southern shore 
A warm reception meet 

From peasants bold at La Corbiere ; 
At Bee d'la Chevre the land they near, 
And aid their friends' retreat. 


But Evan's troops were mad with rage, 

Like lions balked of food, 
Swear that their wrath they will assuage 
In floods of English blood; 

Then suddenly their course they steer 
Towards Saint Sampson's port, and there 
They land in angry mood. 





Saint Michael's Abbey soon they seek, 

Friar Bregard there had sway, 
Who, full of fear, with prayers meek 
Meets them upon their way ; 
With presents rich and ample store 
Of gold, and promises of more 
Their fury to allay. 


To Eleanor, that lady fair, 

Sir Evan's beauteous bride, 
The crafty monk gave jewels rare 
To win her to his side. 
At Granville, in the pleasant land 
Of France, Sir Evan sought her hand, 
Nor was his suit denied. 


Near the Archangel's Castle then, 

Upon a rising ground, 
Sir Evan camped our countrymen 
Sure refuge there had found. 
Bregard, in hopes to increase his store, 
Advances to the Castle door 
And bade a parley sound. 


He counselled them to yield forthwith, 

But brave Sir Edmund Eose 
Declared he'd sooner meet his death 
Than bend to foreign foes, 

But to the Abbot should they yield 
A double tithe on every field, 
He would it not oppose. 



The Abbot to Sir Evan went, 
And soon a bargain closed ; 
The simple peasants gave assent 
To all the monk proposed, 

And bound their lands a sheaf to pay, 
Beyond the tithes, and thus, they say, 
The Champart was imposed. 

Part the Second. 

With spoils and presents not a few 

Sir Evan sailed once more 
Tow'rds le Conquet, his ships with new 
Supplies of food to store ; 
Before Belleisle (so goes the tale) 
They burnt a fleet of thirty sail, 
The crews being gone on shore. 


The south wind rose, and en the coasts 

Of Brittany they passed, 
An English fleet to stop their boasts 
Appeared in sight at last : 

Full sixty men a footing found 
On board Sir Evan's bark, and bound 
His crew in fetters fast. 


Sir Evan to the mast they tied, 

And then before his face 
Insult his young and beauteous bride 
And load her with disgrace ; 

They take him to Southampton town 
And on his head, in guise of crown, 
A red-hot morion place. 

E E 



They dragged his men out one by one, 

And hung them up in chains, 
And now not one of all the crew 
Save Eleanor remains. 
A beggar's scrip her only store, 
She roams about from door to door, 
And scarce a living gains. 


How fared the rest of Evan's fleet ? 

Methinks I hear you say, 
When raging winds for ever beat 
The strongest towers decay.;,, 

To bend these ships before the breeze, 
And sinking 'neath the briny seas, 
In vain for mercy pray. 


Our holy island's shores at last, 

One Tuesday morn they reach ; 

But on the Hanois rocks are cast, 

And soon on Eocquaine's beach 

The waves their lifeless corpses threw, 
That vengeance still will guilt pursue, 
Their dismal fate may teach. 


At the beginning of the present century, when little 
more was known of the Norman Islands than their 
names, it might have been necessary, in speaking of 
Sark, to describe where it is situated. Guernsey, 
Jersey, Alderney, Sark, and Man, were always 
associated together in Acts of Parliament and in 
school books for teaching children geography ; and 


while there were many who believed the five to form 
but one group, there were many others who would 
have been very much puzzled to point out on the 
map the precise situation of any one of them. Now, 
thanks to the incessant intercourse with England by 
means of steam, and the attractions the islands 
present as resorts for tourists and excursionists, they 
are as well known as most watering places on the 
English coast. 

Sark, though the smallest of the group, is by 
many considered the most beautiful of the Channel 
Islands, and, certainly in point of rock and cliff 
scenery, combined with the ever-varying eSbcts of 
sea and sky, there are few lines of coast, of the 
same extent, that can compare with it. So precipitous 
are the shores on all sides, that there are very few 
spots where a landing can bo effected, and in former 
daj's it would not have been difficult to repel an 
invader, merely by rolling down stones from the 

Of the history of Sark but little is known. St. 
Maglorius, a Briton from South Wales, who succeeded 
his kinsman, St. Samson, Bishop of Dol, about 
the year 565, in that see, gave up a few years 
afterwards his pastoral charge to his successor, St. 
Budoc, and retired to end his days in meditation 
and prayer in Sark, where he established a convent 
and college for training young men as missionaries 
to the neighbouring nations. As a priory, dependent 
probably on some one or other of the large monas- 
teries in Normandy, this convent was still in existence 
in the reign of Edward III., but the wars between 
this monarch and the French king, seem to have 
been the cause of the monks withdrawing themselves 

E E 2 


entirely from the island about the year 1349. After the 
departure of the monks, Sark appears to have become 
the resort of pirates, who did so much injury to the 
trade of the Channel, that, in 1356, a vessel belonging 
to the port of Eye was fitted out by the merchants of 
that town and of Winchelsea to endeavour to expel 
this band of marauders. This they succeeded in doing, 
and are said to have effected an entry into the island 
by means of a stratagem, which Sir Walter Ealeigh, 
sometime Governor of Jersey, where he may be 
supposed to have gained his information, relates as 
having occurred in the reign of Queen Mary, and 
attributes to the crew of a Flemish ship. 

We copy Sir Walter Ealeigh's account of the 
re-taking of Sark, from his History of the World, 
Part L, Book IV., chapter XL, p. 18, but must 
premise by saying that he is incorrect in stating that 
Sark had been surprised by the French in the reign 
of Queen Mary. It was in the year 1549, during 
the reign of her brother Edward VI., that the 
French, being at war with England, and finding the 
island uninhabited, landed four hundred men and took 
possession of it. The anonymous author of Les 
Chroniques de Jersey, written apparently in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth, in noticing the recapture of 
Sark by Flemings, says nothing of the stratagem, 
but simply that, guided by some Guernseymen, they 
landed at night and overpowered the French garrison, 
which, at that time, was very much reduced in 

" The Island of SarJc, joining to. Guernsey, and of 
that Government, was in Queen Mary's time surprized 
by the French, and could never have been recovered 
again by strong hand, having Cattle and Corn enough 


upon the Place to feed so many Men as will serve 
to defend it, and being every way so inaccessible 
that it might be held against the Great Turk. Yet 
by the industry of a Gentleman of the Netherlands, 
it was in this Sort regained. He anchored in the 
Road with one Ship, and, pretending the Death of his 
Merchant, besought the French that they might bury 
their Merchant in hallowed Ground, and in the 
Chapel of that Isle ; offering a Present to the French 
of such Commodities as they had aboard. Whereto 
(with Condition that they should not come ashore 
with any Weapon, not so much as with a Knife), 
the French yielded. Then did the Flemings put a 
Coffin into their Boat, not filled with a Dead Carcass, 
but with Swords, Targets and Harquebuzes. The 
French received them at their Landing, and, searching 
every one of them so narrowly as they could not 
hide a Penknife, gave them leave to draw their 
Coffin up the Bocks with great difficulty. Some part 
of the French took the Flemish Boat, and rowed 
aboard their Ship to fetch the Commodities promised, 
and what else they pleased, but, being entered, they 
were taken and bound. The Flemings on the Land, 
when they had carried their Coffin into the Chapel, shut 
the Door to them, and, taking their Weapons out of the 
Coffin, set upon the French. They run to the Cliff, 
and cry to their Companions aboard the Fleming to 
come to their Succour. But, finding the Boat charged 
with Flemings, yielded themselves and the Place." 

Falle, the historian of Jersey, . in citing this 
anecdote says: "I have seen Memoirs which confirm 
the taking of this Island by such a Stratagem ; but 
the other Circumstances of Time and Persons do not 
agree with the foregoing Story." 


He then quotes, in a footnote, a passage from a 
MS. chronicle in Latin, which appears to have 
been in the possession of the de Carteret family, 
Seigneurs of St. Ouen, in Jersey, giving an account 
of the recapture of Sark by a vessel from Eye, by 
means of the stratagem related above, but he does 
not assign any date to the transaction. 

It would be rash to assert that no such event 
ever occurred in the history of Sark, but it is curious 
to note that similar stories are told of Harold 
Hardrada, a Scandinavian adventurer who was in the 
service of the Byzantine Emperors, and of the famous 
sea-king, Hastings. The former fell dangerously ill 
while besieging a town in Sicily. His men requested 
permission to bury him with due solemnity, and, on 
bringing the coffin to the gates of the town, were 
received by the clergy. No sooner, however, were 
they within the gates than they set down the coffin 
across the entrance, drew their swords, made them- 
selves masters of the place, and massacred all the 
male inhabitants. 

Hastings, about the year 857, entered the Mediter- 
ranean with a large fleet, appeared before the ancient 
Etruscan city of Luna, professed to be desirous of 
becoming a Christian, and was baptised by the Bishop. 
After a time he pretended to be dangerously ill, 
and gave out that he would leave the rich booty he 
had amassed to the Church, if, in the event of his 
death, the Bishop would allow him to be interred 
in one of the churches of the city. This was 
conceded, and, shortly afterwards, his followers 
appeared, bearing a coffin, which they pretended 
contained his dead body. No sooner had they entered 
the church and set it down, than Hastings started 



Old Mill, Talbot. 


up, sword in hand, and slew the Bishop. His 
followers drew their swords, and, in the confusion, 
soon made themselves masters of the city. 

These particulars are taken from Bohn's editions 
of Mallet's Northern Antiquities, pages 169 and 170. 
Perhaps the earliest known germ of this story is to 
be found in the famous Trojan horse ; but it is 
curious to note that a tale, similar in all its 
incidents to that related of Sark, is told as having 
happened in the reign of William and Mary at 
Lundy, a small isle in the Bristol Channel. It will 
be found in Murray's Handbook for Travellers in 
Devon and Cornwall ; and as the date assigned to 
it is long subsequent to the publication of Sir Walter 
Ealeigh's History, the natural conclusion is that the 
incidents in the alleged taking of Lundy, have been 
borrowed from those of the recapture of Sark, as 
narrated by Sir Walter. In confirmation of this view 
of the case we would draw attention to the circum- 
stance that the " Gentleman of the Netherlands," 
with his crew of Flemings, of the earlier narrative, 
becomes in the later edition of this story " A ship 
of war under Dutch colours." 

With these preliminary remarks, we proceed to copy 
the account of the surprise of Lundy : 

11 The principal event in the history of Lundy is 
its capture by a party of Frenchmen, in the reign 
of William and Mary. A ship of war, under Dutch 
colours, brought up in the roadstead, and sent ashore 
for some milk, pretending that the captain was sick. 
The islanders supplied the milk for several days, 
when at length the crew informed them that their 
captain was dead, and asked permission to bury him 
in consecrated ground. This was immediately granted, 


and the inhabitants assisted in carrying the coffin to 
the grave. It appeared to them rather heavy, but 
they never for a moment suspected the nature of its 
contents. The Frenchmen then requested the islanders 
to leave the church, as it was the custom of their 
country that foreigners should absent themselves 
during a part of the ceremony, but informed -them 
that they should be admitted to see the body interred. 
They were not, however, detained long in suspense ; 
the doors were suddenly flung open, and the French- 
men, armed from the pretended receptacle of the 
dead, rushed, with triumphant shouts, upon the 
astonished inhabitants, and made them prisoners. 
They then quietly proceeded to desolate the island. 
They hamstrung the horses and bullocks, threw the 
sheep and goats over the cliffs, and stripped the 
inhabitants even of their clothes. When satisfied 
with plunder and mischief, they left the poor islanders 
in a condition most truly disconsolate." 

No reference to any authority for the story is 
given, and it is difficult to conceive that such an 
unprovoked and barbarous outrage, leading to no 
useful end for Lundy could be of little or no use to 
either in time of war could have been perpetrated 
so lately as the reign of William III. ; but in the 
case of Lundy, as well as in that of Sark, the date 
assigned to the event is extremely vague, some 
asserting that it happened in the time of the great 
rebellion, others that it is to be found related by 
one of the old chroniclers who wrote the history of 
that long period of civil strife known as the Wars of 
the Roses. 


A time of war between England and France would 


naturally cause great anxiety and excitement in all 
the Channel Islands. Situated as they are, so near 
to the French coast that buildings of any size may 
be discerned in clear weather by the naked eye, 
and coveted by that nation ever since the time when 
King John, having lost Normandy, the islands, firm 
in their allegiance to the Duke, followed the fortunes 
of England, they were peculiarly exposed to a hostile 

England, fully aware of the importance of these 
islands, and knowing well what a command of the 
Channel the possession of them gives, has always 
been careful to have them well fortified and garrisoned 
in time of war, and to keep a fleet cruising in their 
waters. The local militia a body of men which may 
be more correctly termed trained bands, for, by the 
ancient constitution of the islands, every male capable 
of bearing arms must be trained to the use of them, 
and is required to serve his country from the age 
sixteen to sixty forms a subsidiary force, frequently 
and carefully drilled. In times when danger was to 
be apprehended, watch houses were erected on all 
the hills and promontories round the coast, where a 
vigilant lookout was kept up night and day ; and 
near each of these was placed a large stack of dried 
furze, which might be set on fire at a moment's 
warning, and which would convey the intelligence of 
approaching danger to all parts of the island. The 
keeping of these guards was confided to the militia, 
or, to speak more precisely, to householders, who 
were told off by the constables of their respective 
parishes for this duty. Every house, in its turn, 
had to furnish a man, and even females living alone 
were not exempt, but were expected to find a 


substitute. These substitutes, being well paid for 
their trouble, were, of course, not difficult to be met 
with ; but as they were for the most part idle 
fellows, and as they were enrolled under their 
employers' names, these last sometimes found them- 
selves in an awkward predicament. It is said that 
two maiden ladies, householders, of most unblemished 
reputation, and belonging to two of the most 
aristocratic families in Guernsey, were reported one 
morning as having been drunk and disorderly on 
guard the previous night ! 

During the last wars between England and France 
there does not appear to have been, except on one 
occasion, any very serious alarm in Guernsey ; but 
every now and then the sight of ships of war off 
Cape La Hague, in the neighbourhood of Cherbourg, 
gave rise to some uneasiness, and put the island on 
the alert. It is no wonder if some amount of fear 
was felt by the inhabitants on these occasions, when 
we remember the panic that Bonaparte's threatened 
invasion in flat-bottomed boats from Boulogne, occa- 
sioned in England. 

It was during the American war, in the early part 
of the year 1781, shortly after the attempt made on 
Jersey by the French adventurer, de Kullecour, so 
gallantly repelled by a small body of the regular 
forces and the militia of that island, under the 
command of Major Pierson, who was killed fighting 
bravely at the head of his troops, that a drunken 
frolic of three thoughtless youths threw the whole 
island of Guernsey into a state of consternation, and 
was the unfortunate cause of the death of several 
sick persons. 

On the night of Sunday, the 4th of March, these 


men, officers in one of the militia regiments, after 
attending a muster of the force, which, in those 
days, generally took place on the Sunday, had 
finished the day by dining together, and were 
returning from the Castel parish to their homes in 
the Yale and "St. Sampson's. Their way was along 
the sea-coast, at that time not nearly so thickly 
inhabited as at present, and, on arriving at an almost 
solitary house, situated near the marsh of Pulias, 
just at the foot of the hill of Noirmont, on which 
a watch and a beacon, ready to be fired, were always 
in readiness, the fancy took them to knock at the 
door of the cottage, and to represent themselves as 
part of a French force, consisting of over ten 
thousand men, who had just effected a landing. They 
demanded that a guide should be furnished them 
forthwith to shew them the most direct road to the 
town, and to the residence of the Governor, promis- 
ing that he should be amply rewarded for his trouble. 
It so chanced that the only inmates of the house 
were an old man and his wife. With admirable 
presence of mind, the man replied that it was out 
of his power to serve them as guide, as he had the 
misfortune to be stone blind, but that if they went 
a few hundred yards further in a direction which 
he pointed out to them, they would find another 
habitation, where, no doubt, the guide they were in 
search of would be forthcoming. They took their 
departure, going in the direction indicated to them, 
and, no sooner were their backs turned, than the 
old woman opened a window in the rear of the 
house, and made her way across the fields, over 
hedges and ditches, and through the thick furze that 
covers the hill ? to the signal station on the summit 


of Noirmont. She told her story to the men on 
watch, and it was not many minutes before the 
beacon was in flames, and the signal taken up by 
all the others round the coast. A swift messenger 
was sent into town with the unwelcome news. 
Before long, the alarm had spread into every part 
of the island. The troops in garrison were soon under 
arms, the militia regiments mustered at their respec- 
tive places of meeting, and scouts were sent out to 
search for the enemy, and to find out where they 
had taken up their position. With the return of 
daylight, the reconnoitring parties came back to 
headquarters, bringing the reassuring intelligence that 
not a sign of an enemy was to be seen on any part 
of the coast. It was then evident that the whole 
community had been made the victim of a heartless 
hoax. A strict enquiry was set on foot to discover 
the authors of it, but, though suspicion pointed 
strongly in the direction of the real culprits, nothing 
definite could be brought home to any one in 
particular ; but the surmise was converted into 
certainty by the sudden departure from the island 
of the suspected parties, who did not venture to 
return to their homes till many years afterwards, 
when the affair was well-nigh forgotten, and when 
there was no longer any danger of their being called 
to account for their mad freak. A bitter feeling was, 
however, engendered in the minds of the people, 
which found vent in satirical songs, some verses of 
which are still remembered. 


From the earliest times of which we have any 
authentic record, the people of Guernsey appear to 


have been a seafaring race. Perhaps they inherit 
their disposition for maritime pursuits from their 
remote ancestors, those hardy Scandinavian adven- 
turers, who, there can be no doubt, found these* 
islands a very convenient resort in their early piratical 
incursions, and probably had settled in them long 
before they took possession of that fertile province of 
France, now known as Normandy, the land of the 
Northmen. But, however this may be, the inhabitants 
of these islands could scarcely be other than mariners, 
surrounded as they are by a sea abounding in an 
endless variety of fish, and especially when we take 
into consideration the small extent of land in them 
available for agricultural purposes compared with the 
teeming population which, exclusive of that of the 
town, which has increased considerably since the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century appears from authentic 
documents to have been quite as dense in the rural 
districts in the early part of the fourteenth century 
as it is in the present day.* 

Their situation gave the islands importance in a 
strategical point of view, and was favourable also to the 
development of commerce, possessing moreover, as they 
did, the extraordinary privilege of neutrality in times 
of war between England and France. 

After the forfeiture of Normandy by King John, 
it was long before the inhabitants of that Province 
acquiesced cordially in their change of masters ; and 
the district known as Le Cotentin, to which the islands 
naturally appertained, was last to give up their alle- 
giance to their ancient Dukes. Indeed, it can scarcely 
be said to have been lost entirely to England, until the 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * This was true years ago when Sir Edgar MacCulloch wrote the above, but 
it has ceased to be true now. 



Water Lane, Couture. 


final expulsion of our kings from all their continental 
possessions in the reign of Henry VI. During the long 
wars between the two nations, the possession of these 
islands was of the utmost importance to England, 
commanding as they did so long a line of the French 
coast. Guernsey alone at that time possessed a tolerably 
secure haven, the early existence of which is proved by 
a charter of William the Conqueror, dated prior to his 
invasion of England, in which St. Peter Port is 
mentioned. Edward I. allowed of certain dues on 
merchandise being levied for the improvement of this 
harbour, and that an active trade was carried on 
between Guernsey and the English possessions in 
Acqfuitaine is undoubted. No wonder then that we find 
the names of Guernsey ships in the lists of those 
chartered for the conveyance of troops to France in 
time of war. But what, perhaps, more than anything 
else contributed to form a race of hardy and courageous 
seamen were the important fisheries, which, before the 
discovery of America and the banks of Newfoundland, 
gave employment to an immense amount of men, 
in catching, salting, and drying for exportation, the 
fish which abound in the neighbourhood of the 
islands. The dangerous nature of the coast, and 
the surrounding seas, is owing to sunken rocks, 
strong currents and tides, which vary from day to 
day. It requires a life-long apprenticeship to become 
well acquainted with all the hidden and open perils 
which threaten a seaman's life. No wonder then if 
some of our fishermen, brought up to the sea from 
their earliest youth, become experienced and fearless 
pilots, knowing every reef, every set of the tide, 
and able to reckon to a nicety, how long the current 
will run in one direction, and when it may be 


expected to take a different course. In making their 
calculations they are very- much guided by the 
bearings of certain marks on land, such as churches, 
windmills, or other conspicuous buildings, and the 
following anecdote, related of one of our pilots, Jean 
Breton, is well worthy of being remembered, not 
more for the skill he displayed under very trying 
circumstances, than for the significant and touching 
answer he gave when questioned whether he was sure 
of his marks. 

In the year 1794, Captain Sir James Saumarez 
was at Plymouth, in command of H.M.S. Crescent 
and a squadron consisting of two other frigates, the 
Druid and the Eurydice, and two or three armed 
luggers and cutters. He received orders to sail for 
Guernsey and Jersey, to ascertain, if possible, the 
enemy's force in Gancale Bay and St. Malo. On 
the 7th of June he left Plymouth, having, a day 
or two before, accidentally met Jean Breton, whom 
he knew. He asked him what he was doing there. 
" I am waiting, Sir, for a passage to Guernsey," 
was the reply. Sir James, whose active benevolence 
always prompted him to do a kind action when it 
was in his power, offered to take him across, and 
his kindness to his poor fellow-countryman was 
amply repaid in the sequel. The day after their 
departure from Plymouth, when about twelve leagues 
to the N.N.W. of Guernsey, and with a fresh N.E. 
breeze, the English ships fell in at dawn with a 
French squadron of considerably greater force. The 
superiority of the enemy being much too great to 
be opposed with any chance of success, it became 
the imperative duty of the English commander to 
effect, if possible, the escape of his ships. Observing 

F F 


that his own ships, the Crescent and the Druid, had 
the advantage in sailing, and fearing that the 
Eurydice, which was a bad sailer, would fall into 
the enemy's hands, he shortened sail, and, having 
ordered the Eurydice, by signal, to push' for Guernsey, 
he continued, by occasionally showing a disposition 
to engage, to amuse the enemy and lead him off 
until the Eurydice was safe. He now tacked, and, 
in order to save the Druid, closed with the enemy, 
passing along their line. The capture of the Crescent 
now seemed inevitable, but the Druid and the 
Eurydice escaped in the meanwhile, and arrived safely 
in Guernsey Eoads, the smaller craft returning to 

But Sir James had, for his own preservation, a 
scheme, to effect which required great courage, con- 
summate skill in the management of his ship, and 
an intimate knowledge of the intricate passages 
through the reefs which render navigation, on that 
part of the coast in particular, so very dangerous. 
The providential presence of Jean Breton on board 
enabled him to put this scheme into execution with 
an almost certainty of success. Sir James knew 
that if there was a man in Guernsey thoroughly 
acquainted with every danger that besets that iron- 
bound shore, Jean Breton was that man ; and, making 
a feint to run his ship on the rocks to avoid being 
captured by the enemy, but trusting implicitly in 
his pilot's skill, he ordered him to steer through a 
narrow channel, a feat which had never before been 
attempted by a vessel of that size. The result of 
this manoauvre was watched with the utmost anxiety 
from the shore, and remarks were made by the 
lookers-on that Jean Breton alone, of all the pilots 


in Guernsey, would venture on such a perilous feat, 
little suspecting that it was indeed he, to whom, 
under God, was to be attributed the safety of the 
ship and her gallant crew. The frigate was soon 
brought to in a secure anchorage under shelter of 
the fire of the batteries on shore, and the French, 
mortified at being baulked of a prize of which they 
had made quite sure, had to retire from the contest. 
The scene of this daring adventure was to the 
westward of the island, off the bays known as Le 
Vazon and Caubo, on the shore of the former of 
which Jean Breton's cottage was situated, and full 
in view of Sir James Saumarez's own manorial 
residence, a position truly remarkable, for on one 
side was a prospect of death or a French prison, 
on the other side home with all its joys ! When in 
the most perilous part of the Channel, Sir James 
asked the pilot whether he was sure of his marks ? 
" Quite sure," was Jean Breton's reply, " for there 
is your house and yonder is my own ! " 

F F 2 


Jinrserg Ebptms ani 

" Gather up all the traditions, and even the nursery songs ; no one can tell of what value they 
may prove to an antiquary." 

Southey, in a letter to Mrs. Bray, quoted in her Borders of the Tamer and the Tavy. 


NUMBEK of children seat themselves in a 
circle on the ground, as near to each 
other as possible, and one of the party is 
chosen to stand in the centre of the ring. Those 
who are seated keep their hands in their laps with 
their fists closed, and endeavour to pass a pebble or 
other small object from one to the other, without 
its being perceived by the child who is in the middle. 
While the game is going on they recite the following 
rhyme : 

" Mon toussebelet va demandant, 
Ma fausse vieille va querant, 
Sur lequel prends tu, bon enfant?"f 

* [Some of these I have found lying- loose among Sir Edgar MacCulloch's MSS. I have 
put them together, and added to them a few I have collected among the old country 
people. ED.] 

EDITOR'S NOTE. t All Guernsey nursery rhymes, etc., are naturally either in old French or 
Guernsey Frpnch elating as they do from the times when no other language was spoken in 
the island. 


The child in the centre of the circle is in the 
meantime on the look out to discover into whose 
hands the pebble is passing, and, if he can succeed 
in arresting it in the possession of any one of the 
players, he takes his place in the ring, and the one 
in whose hands the pebble was caught, replaces him 
in the centre. 

From Rachel du Port. 

A child stands in the middle and says : 

" J'ai tant d'enfants a marier." 
Chorus frcm children standing round : 

" Ah ! Ah ! Ah ! " 
The child again says : 

"Ah ! je ne sais qu'en faire." 
One of the children then says : 

" Maman, maraan, que voulez vous ? " 
The first child replies : 

" Entrez dans la danse, faites la reverence, 

Chantez, dansez, et embrassez celui que vous aimerez." 

This is repeated till all the children are brought inside the circle, then the " mothar " says. 
" Tous mes enfants sont maries, 
Je n'en ai plus un seul reste." 
Then the first child says to the " mother " : 

" Entrez dans la danse, faites la reverence, 
Chantez, dansez, et embrassez celui que vous aimerez." 

From Mrs. Jehan. 


The child in the centre says the first couplet and 
then " counts out " : 

" Un loup passant par le desert, 
La queue levee, le bee en 1'air, 
Un, deux, trois, 
Yers le bois, 
Quatre, cinq, six, 
Vers le buis, 
Sept, huit, neuf, 
Vers le boauf, 
Dix, onze, douze, 
Dans la bouze." 



" Un "i" un "1," ma tante Michelle, 
Des roques, des choux, des figues nouvelles, 
Ne passez pas par mon jardin, 
Ne cueillez pas mon rosmarin, 
Grim! Cram ! Crue, ! Elysee, ! Henri! Va 't'en! " 
Sometimes the last three ejaculations are omitted. 
From Mrs. W. P. Collings. 


" A la grand' rue 

Les etoiles y sont s-uspendues ; 
Du vin blanc, et du vin noir, 
On le met a baptizer, 
Sur le dos de la cuiller. 
La cuiller se passe, 
L'enfant trepasse, 
Ainsi, par ci 
Mon coaur me dit 
Ceci, cela, 
Hors d'ici 
Hors de la ! " 

From Miss Harriet de Sausmarez, 'aged ninety. 
Used by children in her youth. 


" L'un de la lune 
Deaux, des ch'vaux 
Tres des peis, 
Quatre d'la grappe 
Chinq, des chelins, 
Six du riz. 
Sept du lait, 
Huit, de la gdche cuite, 
Neuf, du boeuf, 
Dix, pain bis, 
Onze de la congre, 
Douze de la bouze." 

From flfrs. W. Osanttf, 


487 ; 





" Hickory, Airy, Ory, Anne, 
Biddy, boddy, over San, 
Pere, Pere, Vierge et Merc,* 
Pit, Pout, out, one ! " 

From Afiss Annie Chepmell. 

" Eckary, airy, ory Anne, 
I believe in ury San, 
Pere, pcre, what's your mere, 
Pit, pout, out, one ! " 

From Mrs. Mollet, La Villette. 


" Onery, Twoery, Dickery, Davy, 
Arabo, Crackery, Jennery, Lavy, 
Wishcome, Dandy, Merrycome, Time, 
Humberry, Bumberry, Twenty-nine." 

From Mrs. Durand, sen. 


The nurse takes the child's hand, and beginning 
with the thumb says : " Gros det," " Arridet," (for 
the index finger.) 

[Metivier, in his Pictionnaire Franco-Normand, says 
it comes from an obsolete word, " arrer " or " arrher," 
meaning to promise, to ratify, to buy ; and quotes 
the " Speculum Saxonum II., 15, I." " Celui qui 
commence une cause devant le juge pour laquelle il est 
tenu de donner caution du doigt."] 

" Longuedon" or " mousqueton" the middle" finger, 
" Jean des Sceas," the ring finger, or the finger which 
wears the signet. Metivier (page 443 of Dictionnaire 
Franco-Normand) gives as evidence of the signet being 

* Or sometimes " Birds of the Air." 

These words sound like a burlesque of Roman Catholicism, especially of the words of 
administration of the Mass, 


worn on this finger, Macrobius VII., 13, p. 722. Edit. 

de Lyon, 1560. " Dis-moi pourquoi on s'est determine, 

par un assentiment universel, a porter 1'anneau au doigt 

qui avoisine le petit, qu'on a nomine aussi le doigt 

medical : et cela presque tou jours a celui de la main 

gauche ? Voici la reponse de Disarius. ' Ayant 

consulte les livres des anatomistes, j'en ai decouvert 

la vraie cause. Us m'ont appris qu'un nerf passe du 

coaur au doigt de la main gauche, qui avoisine le petit, 

et que c'est la, enveloppe par les autres nerfs de ce 

doigt, qu'il termine sa course. Voila pourquoi les 

anciens se sont avises de ceindre ce doigt d'un 

anneau, et, si j'ose m'exprimer ainsi, d'une couronne.' " 

" P'tit Coutelds," the little finger. 

The nurse puts the child on her knee and sings : 

" Sur les paires* et sur les poumesf 

Et sur le petit chevalot 

Qui va le pas, le pas, le pas, 

Le trot, le trot, le trot, 

Le galop ! le galop ! le galop ! ' 
The nurse pretends to shoe the baby's feet and 
sings : 

" Ferre, ferre la pouliche, 

Pour alla'ir vee ma nourriche, 

Ferre, ferre le poulam, 

Pour alla'ir vee mon parrain ; 

Ferre, ferre le cheval, 

Pour alla'ir a Torteval. 

Another version of this rhyme is given in Metivier's Dictionary. Vide Pouliche, namely : 
" Ferre, ferre men poulafn 
Pour allalr a Saint-Germain ! t 
Ferre, ferre ma pouliche 
Pour alla'ir cis ma nourriche." 

Poires. + Pommes. 

Saint-Germain was a fountain with medicinal properties in the Castcl parish, 


The nurse tickles the baby's hands, and says . 

" L'alouette, 1'alouette a fait son rid 
Dans la main de mon petit, 

Et a passa'i par ichin." (Here she tickles the baby's palm). 
Then beginning with the thumb, she says : 
" Ch'tinchin 1'a tuaiie, 
Ch'tinchin 1'a plumai'e, 
Ch'tinchin 1'a rotie, 
Ch'tinchin 1'a mangie, 
Et le poure p'tit querouin, 
Qui a etai au fouar et au moulin, 
N'en a pas ieu un poure p'tit brin." 

(There are several slightly different versions of this rhyme.) 
Nurses, while playing with a child's face, say : 

" Menton fourchi " (pinch the chin ) 

" Bouche d' Argent " (touch the lips.) 

" Nez de Cancan " (touch the nose.l 

" Joue rotie, joue fricassee " ^touch the cheeks). 

" P'tit ccillot, gros ceillot " (touch the eyes.) 

" Craque Martel " (tap the forehead). 

From Afrs. Kinnersly. 

" En r'vcnant de S 1 :. Martin 
J' rencontri men p'tit lapin, 
II sautit dans ma grand' chambre 
Et mangit toutes mes almandes ; 
II sautit dans ma p'titc chambre 
Et mangit toutes mes noix ; 
II sautit dans men chillier 
Et mangit toutes mes cuillers ; 
II sautit dans men gardin 
Et mangit men rosmarin ; 
II sautit dans men galetus 
E(, mangit tous mes nits ; 
II sautit sur ma maison 
Et mangit mon p'tit garcon." 
Frotn Mis. D.ivi'i/, the old nurse in the. service ,>/ Mr. Gusselin, at Springfield. 

" L'alouette, 1'alouette, qui vole en haut, 
Prie Gryu pour qu'il faiche caud, 
Pour ses poures p'tits aloutiaux, 
Qui n'ont ni manches ni mantiaux 
Ni alumettes ni coutiaux 
Pour copair les gros morciaux." 

" Tire-lire-li, ma cauche etrille, 

Tire-lire-li, ramenda'is la, 

Tire-lire-li, j' n'ai pas d'aiguille, 

Tire-lire-li, acatais n'en, 


Tire-lire-li, j' n'ai point d'argent, 

Tire-lire-li, empruntais n'en 

Tire-lire-li, j' n'ai point d' credit, 

Tire-lire-li, allou's-en." 

" Corbln, Corbin, ta maison brule, 
Va-t-en cueure ton pain et ton burre, 
J'ai la cllai dans ma paoute, 
Jamais tu n' la verras d'autre." 

From Louise Martel, of the Vale. 

" Colin, Colimachon, montre me tes cones, 
Ou je te tuerai ! " 

From Louise Martel. 

M6tivier in his Dictionnaire gives this version : 
" LimaQon, b6ne-bone 
Montre-moi tes c6nes ! ' 


" Coli, Colimachon, mourte me tes cones, 
Et je te dirai ou est ton pere et ta mere. 
Us sont la bas, en haut du pre, 
A mangier d'la gache cuite et here du lait ! " 

From Mrs. Mollet. 

" Roge bounet, veur-tu du lait ? 
Nennin, ma mere, il est trop fred, 
Rouge bounet, veur-tu d'la cra'ime ? 
Oui, ma mere, caer je 1'aVme." 

From Mrs. Mollet. 

" Coquedicot, j'ai mal au det, 
Coquedicot, qu'est qui-t-la-fait ? 
Coquedicot, ch'tait men valet, 
Coquedicot, ou est qu'il est, 
Coquedicot, il est a traire, 
Coquedicot, dans qu'est qu'il trait ? 
Coquedicot, dans son bounet, 
Coquedicot, dans qu'est qu'il coule ? 
Coquedicot, dans sa grand goule, 
Coquedicot, dans qu'est qu'il ribotte? 


Coquedicot, dans sa grand botte ? 

* Coquedicot, dans qu'est qu'il fait le burre ? 

* Coquedicot, dans son grand verre ! " 

In summer a species of small black beetle, known 
by the local name of " pan-pan" is found very 
commonly in the hedges. Children are in tlte habit 
of laying these beetles on their backs, in the palms 
of their hands, spitting upon them, and then repeating 
the following words : 
" Pan-Pan, 

Mourte me ten sang, 
Et je te dounerai du vin bllanc." 
The insect thus tortured emits a drop or two of a 
blood-red secretion, which is, of course, what the child 
is looking for. 

Compare " Les feux de la St. Jean en Berry," in 
Revue des Traditions Populaires, Vol. I., p. 171. " II 
existe une petite scarabee d'un noir bleu qu'on nomme 
'petite bete St. Jean. 1 Quand on le prend, il rend 
par les mandibules (la bouche) un liquide rougeatre ; 
les enfants excitent cette secretion en mettant de la 
salive sur Finsecte, et en disant : 
* Petite bete Saint-Jean, 
Donne-moi du vin rouge, 
Et je te donnerai du vin blanc.' 


" Les Francais qui plument leurs ouaies 
Craquent leux puches et les font quee." 
See Chambers' Popular Rhymes of Scotland. 
" The men o' the East 
Are pyking their geese 
And sending their feathers here away, here away ! " 

These two lines were omitted in the version known by Mr. de Garis, of the Rouvets. 
See Notes and Queries, Vol. I., Series I, January 26th, iSijo. 


" Margoton, mon amie, ). . 

bls - 

Margoton, mon coeur, ] 

II te faudra du roti, 

Pour et pour, et pour et pour, 

Pour te mettre en appetit." 

" Patty Patoche, vendit la caboche 
Dans le marchi, pour des sous inerquis. 

Je fus par les camps 
Ma roulette roulant. 
J' rencontris Tchisette 
Qui m' print ma roulette. 
J' li dis " Tchisette, 
Rends-me ma roulette." 
A' me repounit 
" Je ne t'la rendrai poiut 

Si tu n'me doune une croute de lait." 

Je fus a ma mere 

J' li dis " Ma mere, 

Doune mo une croute de lait." 

A' me repounit 
" Je ne t' la dounerai poiut 

Si tu n' me doune une cllavette." 

Je fus a mon pere 

J' li dis, " Mon pere, 

Doune me une cllavette." 

I* me repounit 
" Je ne t' le dounerai poiut 

Si tu n'me doune un' tchesse de viau." 

Je fus au viau 

J' li dit " Viau, 

Doune me un' tchesse." 

I' me repounit 
" Je ne t' le dounerai poiut 

Si tu ne me doune du lait de la vflque." 

Je fus a la vflque 
J' li dit " Vaque, 
Doune me du lait." 

A' me repounit 
" Je ne t'en dounerai poiut 

Si tu ne me doune de 1'herbe de pre." 

Je m'en fus au pre 

J' li dis " Pre, 

Dosne me de 1'herbe." 

I' me repounit 

"Je ne t' la dounerai point 

Si tu ne me doune une tranche de faux. 1 

Je fus au faux 

J' li dis " Faux, 


Doune me de la tranche." 
I' me repounit 
" Je ne t' la dounerai poiut 
Si tu ne me doune de la graisse de pore." 
Je fus au pore 
J' li dis " Pore, 
Doune me de la graisse." 
I" me repounit 
' Je ne t' la dounerai poiut 
Si tu ne me doune un glliand de quene." 
Je m'cn fus au quene 
J' li dis " Quene, 
Doune me un glliand." 
I' me repounit 
" Je ne t' le dounerai pouit 
Si tu ne me doune du vent de mai'r." 
Je fus a la mai'r 
J' li dis " Mai'r, 
Doune me du vent." 
La mai'r ventait J'eventi men quene 
Men quene glliandait Je glliandi men pore 
Men pore graissait Je graissi men faux 

M^n faux tranchait Je tranchi men pre 4 

Men pre herbait Je herbi ma vAque 
Ma vaque laitait J'allaiti mon viau 
Men viau tchessait Je tchessi men pere 
Men palre cllavettait Je cllavetti ma mere 
Ma mai're crotait Je croti Tchisette 
Par chunna j'eus ma roulette. 

This, the local version of " The House that Jack Built," is widely known. Slightly different 
versions exist in the different parishes, but the above is as complete as I can make it. From 
Mrs. Mallei, Mrs. C. Maiquand, Mrs. Le Patourel, and from a version collected in St. Peter-in- 
the- Wood, by Miss Le Pelley. 

" Haptalon * de la Vieille Nanon 
Qui ribotait son cotillon." 

" Dindon, Bolilin, 

Quatre efants dans le bain de Madame. 
Le petit, qui cri le bouille, 
Dindon, bolilin ! " 

" Chausseaton, ber^eaton, 
Ma grand'mere est au paisson, 

* " Haptalon " is the Guernsey equivalent of " Hobgoblin." 




Si al'en prend j'en airon 
Tout sera plein a la maison ! 
Si non, j' nous en passerons ! " 

" Ton pere* a dit qui fallait dormir (bis). 
Lo, lo, lo, le petit 
Puisque ton pere a dit." (bis). 

" Makieu 

Dors tu ? 

Nennin, ma mere, quer je prie Gyu, 

Quaille priere dis-tu ? 
" Not' Pere " et " Je ere en Gyu." 

" Trop paresseuse, pourquoi te revair ? 
Eeveillez-vous joyeuse, et venez dansair." 

" Crolloton, berchotton, 
Ma grand' -mere est au pai'sson 
S' al'en a j'en airon 
S' a n'en a poiut, j' nous en passerons." 

From John de Can's, Esq., of the Rouvefs. 



It was formerly customary on holidays for the 
youth of both sexes to assemble in some tavern or 
private house to amuse themselves with dancing to 
the enlivening strains of the fiddle or rote, called in 
the local dialect the " chifournie." These assemblies 
were termed " sows," and were generally attended 
also by some of the older portions of the community, 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * This rhyme is repeated, bringing in " mere," " oncle," " tante," etc., till 
all the relations have been named. 


whose presence was a guarantee for the orderly 
conduct of the meeting. Things are now much 
changed. The presence of a large garrison during 
the wars that arose out of the first French 
Revolution, and the influx of a mixed population 
since the peace, altered the character of these 
assemblies in town. They came to be regarded with 
disfavour ; parents discouraged their children from 
attending them ; the prejudice against them extended 
to the country parishes, and the puritanical feeling 
that grew up with the rapid spread of dissent 
among the labouring classes was entirely opposed 
to any species of amusement. Whether the cause 
of morality has gained much by this over strictness 
is questionable. 

The dances at these meetings were of a very 
primitive character, consisting almost entirely of a 
species of jig, by two performers, or in joining 
hands and moving round at a quick pace in a circle. 
When a musician was not to be procured, recourse 
was had to the united voices of the dancers, and an 
ancient roundelay or " ronde" no doubt originally 
imported from France, where such dances are still 
common among the peasantry, helped to carry on the 
amusement of the evening. It is still danced 
occasionally by young people and children, and, as 
the sole remaining specimen of this kind of diversion, 
deserves to be recorded. 

The performers, who must consist of an equal 
number of either sex placed alternately, join hands 
in a circle. They then dance round, singing in 
chorus : 

" Saluez, Messieurs et Dames, 
Ah ! mon beau lau-ri-er ! " (bis) 

a G 


One of the girls is then selected and placed in 
the middle of the circle, and the rest of the party 
continue to dance round her singing : 
" Ah ! la belle, entrez en danse ! 
Ah ! mon beau lau-ri-er ! " (bis) 
The next verse is : 

" Faites nous la reverence, 

Ah! mon beau lau-ri-er!" (bis) 
On this the damsel curtseys round to the company, 
who go on singing . 

" Faites le pot a deux anses, 

Ah! mon beau lau-ri-er!" (bis) 

The dancer must now set her arms a-kimbo, and 
so figure away in the centre of the ring until the 
strain changes to : 

" Jambe, enjambe en ma presence, 
Ah! mon beau lau-ri-er!" (bis) 
This figure generally causes much merriment, for 
the performer is expected to clasp both arms round 
one uplifted knee, and hop about on the other foot, 
the result of which is not unfrequently a fall. Then 
follows : 

" Prenez cil qui vous ressemble, 

Ah ! mon beau lau-ri-er ! " (bis) 

The maiden now makes selection of a partner 
among the youths, and both join hands in the 
middle of the circle, while the following words are 
sung to a different tune and measure : 

" Eiitr'embrassez-vous par le jeu d'amourette, 

Bntr'embrassez-vous par le jeu d'amour." 
A tender embrace follows, and then the assistants 
sing : 

" Entr'embrassez-vous par le jeu d'amourette, 
Entr'einbrassez-vous par le jeu d'amour." 


A kiss is now claimed from the compliant damsel, 
after which is sung : 

" Entrequittez-vous par le jeu d'amourette, 

Entrequittez-vous par le jeu d'amour." 
The girl now leaves the young man in the midst 
of the circle and returns to her original place, when 
the dance recommences with such verbal alterations as 
the change of the principal performers renders necessary. 
The old-fashioned cushion dance, which delighted the 
romps of the Court of the merry-monarch, Charles II., 
is not altogether forgotten on these occasions. 

There are several other dancing rhymes and 

snatches of dancing times in existence such as the 

one quoted by Metivier in his Dictionnaire, page 148: 

" Ma coummere, aquand je danse, rnen cotillon 

fait-i bien ? 
Ah ! vraiment oui, ma coummere, i va bien mux 

que le mien. 
I va de ci, i va de la ; 
I va fort bien, ma coummere, 
I va fort bien coumme i va." 
Another version is : 
" Ma coummere, aquand je danse, men cotillon 

fait-i bien ? 
Ah ! vraiment oui, ma coummere, i va bien mux 

que le mien. 

I va d'ici, I va de la, men cotillon, 
Vole, vole, vole, men cotillon vol'ra." 
One dance consisted of a sort of see-saw in 
different corners of the room, the couple repeating : 
" Dansez done, ou ne dansez pas, 
Faites le done, ou ne le faites pas, 
La-la-la." (bis). 
Dance and repeat ! 

G G2 




EDITOR'S NOTE. In a Descriptive. Account of the Island of Sark, published in Clarke's 
Guernsey Magazine for September and October, 1875, the Rev. J. L. V. Cachemaille wrote : 
" The public games and amusements of the Sarkese are few, and of a simple kind ; and 
it is only children or young people who take part in them now-a-days Formerly they used 
to have a favourite amusement, consisting of six or eight men, or big boys, who placed 
themselves in a line, one behind the other, and held each other firmly round the waist, while two 
outsiders made every effort to pull them apart one after another, till one only remained. 
This game they called ' Uprooting the Corse,' and the last man represented the largest or 
principal root. Children still keep up this game, but not very universally, nor is it often played. 
It was one of the chief amusements of the ' Veilles? " Mr. Cachemaille also wrote : " A person, 
either young or old, disguised himself in a manner to frighten people. At the end of a stick 
he carried the head of a horse or donkey, and this he placed on his own head, having first 
enveloped himself in a sheet. By means of cords, he made the jaws of this head to open 
and shut with a noise, then he ran after one or the other, endeavouring to bite them with 
the teeth of those horrible jaws ; whereupon everybody ran away as fast as they could, and 
there was a general turmoil, the people either screaming with fright, or else laughing at the 
joke. This head made the round of all the " Veilles" followed by a crowd of people, and, 
until quite latterly, one of these heads was still to be seen in one of the principal farm 


" Even a single hair casts a shadow." 

Lord Vtrttlam. 

| HE widely-diffused idea that the spirits of 
the dead sometimes return in the form of 
birds, is not altogether obsolete in these 

A widow, whose husband had been drowned at 
sea, asked the Seigneur of Sark whether a robin 
that was constantly flying round her cottage and 
alighting on her window-sill, might not possibly be 
the soul of the departed.f 

The robin is a bird specially reverenced in 
Guernsey, as, the widely-accepted belief is that it 
was the robin who first brought fire to the island. 
In bringing it across the water he burned his breast, 
and this is the reason why, to this day, the breast 
of the robin is tinged with red. " My mother," said 
the old woman who told me this, " had a great 
veneration for this little bird, which had been so 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* In this chapter are collected all the loose and unclassified bits of 
Folk-Lore scattered among Sir Edgar MacCulloch's manuscripts. 

f See Indo-European Folk-Lore. 


great a benefactor to those who came before us, for 
who can live without fire." * f 

Soucique. This is the name given in Guernsey 
to the marigold, and also to the fire-crested or 
golden-crested wren, the word being derived from 
the Latin " solsequium." It is probably the same as 
the " heliotropium." The shape and colour of the 
flower, resembling the disc of the sun surrounded 
with rays, and the fact of the flower opening at 
sunrise and closing at sunset, would naturally cause 
it to be associated with that luminary, and considered 
sacred to Apollo. It is not quite so easy to account 
for the same name being given to the fire-crested 
and golden-crested wren, but we know that the^wren 
plays a considerable part in the mythology of the 
Aryan nations, and is one of those birds which is 
believed to have brought fire from heaven for the 
use of man.} The story of its outwitting the eagle, 
in the contest for the sovereignty among birds, and 
getting nearer the sun by perching on its back, may 
have gained for it a name, which, as we have seen, 
signifies " a follower of the sun." 

The willow- wren is known among us as " Le 
Ribet" from Hi (roi), and " bet" the form known in 

* From Rachel Du Port. 


+ " Another version of this story is : The robin redbreast brought fire to the Island, and by 
so doing burnt his breast, as he had been carrying a lighted torch in his beak. When 
he arrived with his breast-feathers burnt and raw and red, all the other birds were so 
sorry for him that they each gave him a feather, except the owl, who would not, so that is 
why he no longer dares show his face by day." Told me in 1896 by the late Miss Annie 
Chepmell, who had heaid it from an old servant. 

" Quand la rouge-gorge alia chercher 1 j feu, ses plumes furent toutes brulees, alors les 
oiseaux en eurent pitie et ils resolurent de lui donner chacun une plume pour la rehabiller. 
Seul le chat-huant, oiseau orgueilleux et peu compatissant, refusa. C'est pour cela que, 
lorsqu'il se montre au jour, tous les petits oiseaux crient apres lui, et la rouge-gorge en 
particulier, qui, par son cri, lui reproche son orgeuil." Traditions et Superstitions de la 
Haute Bretagne, Tome II., p. 201. 

\ One country tradition says that the wren brought water to Guernsey. 



Portion of the Old Town House (on the left! of the de Sausmarez Family, 
situated where St. Paul's Chapel now stands. 


the province of Beam of " bel." Vallancey says : 
" The Druids represented this as the king of birds, 
hence the name of this bird in all the European 
languages. Latin, Eegulus ; French, Roitelet ; Welsh, 
Bren (or "king"); Teutonic, Konig Vogel ; Dutch, 
Konije, etc. 

A magpie crossing one's way is of evil augury, 
portending vexation, or trouble of some kind. Crows 
cawing much in the neighbourhood of a house is 
also a sign of impending trouble.* 

When the cuckoo is heard for the first time in the 
year one ought to run a few steps forward in order 
to ensure being light for the rest of the year. If 
you have money in your pocket, and turn it, or shake 
it, it will ensure good luck, and you will not want 
money throughout the rest of the year.f 

" Money should be turned in the pocket when the 
cuckoo is heard for the first time." 

An old woman, living at the Vale used to say : 

"En Guernesi nous a coutume de dire en oyant le 
coucou pour la premiere fais: * Si tu ne cuers pas 
tu seras lourd toute I'anndie.' Nous remue etout 
V argent qu'nous peut aver dans les paoutes, en les 
secouant et il y a des gens qui se mettent <i 
genoua'ix. La premiere fais que nous-dt le coucou il 
jaut mettre line grosse roque sus sa tete, arroutair a 
courre, et nou sera legier toute I'anndie" 

.<r-" *. 

" En Avril 
Le coucou crie 
S'il est vif." 

* From J. R. Tardif, Esq. 

t Sse " Folk-Lore ot the North of England," in the Monthly Packet, February, 


" Le coucou 
S'en va en Aout 
La barbe d'orge 
Li pique la gorge." 

11 Coucou-Varou 

Save * part out." 
(See Notes and Queries, 4th Series, Vol. III., 1869.) 

It is thought lucky to shake one's pockets and 
run a few steps, the first time one hears the cuckoo 
sing. The following lines are also repeated by some, 
and the number of times the cuckoo utters his note 
is taken as an answer to the question. 
" Coucou, cou-cou, dis me 
Combien d'ans je vivrai." f 

I remember when I was a child, my aunt, Miss 
de Sausmarez, making me remark how chickens, 
when they drink, lift up their heads at every sip, 
and telling me that they did so to thank God. { 

The bone of the cuttle fish, which is found at 
times thrown up on the beach, is called in Guernsey 
" Pepie." It is supposed to possess the quality of 
healing the " pip " in chickens, also known as "la 

A stye in the eye is called in Guernsey " un 
laurier," and is to be cured by bathing the eye with 
an infusion of laurel leaves or " lauriers." 

If a fisherman, on setting out, sees a humble 
bee flying in the same direction as he is going, he 
considers it a good omen, and that he is sure of a 
plentiful catch. If, however, the insect meets him, 

* Bave The cuckoo spittle. 

t See Thorpe's Northern Mythology, and Chambers' Popular Rhymes, p. 193, 
\ See English Folk-Lore, p. 95. 



it is quite the reverse. The ill-luck, however, may 
be averted by spitting thrice over the left shoulder. 
Omens -of good or bad luck are also derived from 
sea-birds. All depends on whether a gull or a 
cormorant is seen first, as, if a cormorant, no fish 
is to be expected that day. All fishermen also know 
how unlucky it is to count one's fish until the catch 
has been landed, as, however freely they may be 
biting, counting them would inevitably stop all sport 
for the day.* 

If a pair of bellows is put on a table, some great 
misfortune is sure to happen in the household. f 

Richard Ferguson, fisherman, of the Salerie, tells 
me that there is a great objection against taking 
currant cake with them when they go a-fishing, it 
is sure to bring bad luck. 

ALDERNEY = Yaques (Cows). 
SARK = Corbins (Crows). 

JERSEY = Crapauds (Toads). 
GUERNSEY = Anes (Donkeys). 

* From the late Colonel de Vic Tupper. 
t From J. R. Tardif, Esq 


The following scraps of Folk-Lore I have gathered from old people in St. Martin's parish, 
in the years 1897-99. 


" J'ai ou'i dire a ma gran' mire fy a be' tot chinquante ans qu 1 Tbouan honime que. tiou veit 
dans la lune enlevit un fagot de bouais le Dimanche, et pour chut fait le Bon Gyu le 
condamnit a s'en allair dans la lune jusqu'au your du Jugement. Via r/iisfouaire de 
chut poure Mabet que nou vait si souvent perqui la-haut." From Mrs. Le Patourel. 

A robin flying to the window or in the house is a sign of death. Crows flocking together 
and cawing over the house are most unlucky. T > go out and meet three crows or thn-e 
magpies means good luck, all other numbers mean misfortune. 

None should ever cut their finger nails on either a Sunday or a Friday if they wish to 
prosper. A baby's first nails should never be cut, but bitten. 

On being given a present of scissors or a knife, a double * should always be given in 
exchange. Parsley should never be taken as a gift, but it is very lucky to steal some (!). 

No berried plants such as ivy, etc., should be brought into the house before Christmas, 

and it is especially unlucky if, when they arc brought in, they are allowed to touch the 

* The smallest local coin, value one-eighth of a penny. 



ST. PIERRE PORT = Les Cllichards ( See Metivier's 

Dictionnaire, p. 134.) 

ST. SAMSON = Raines (Frogs.) 

LE VALLE = Ann'tons (Cockchafers.) 

LE CATEL = Le Catelain est un ane-pur-sang. 

ST. SAUVEUR = Fouarmillons (Ant lions.) 

ST. PIERRE-DU-BOIS = Equerbots (Beetles). 

TORTEVAL = Anes a pid de ch'va (Asses with 

horses' feet.) 

LA FOR&T = Bourdons (Drones.) 

ST. MARTIN = Dravants (Large Ray-fish.) 

ST. ANDR& = Crainchons (sif tings) " Ce qui reste 

dans le crible." * 

mantel shelf. May should never be brought into a house, and many people, especially in 
Alderney, consider that to bring in furze or gorse means to introduce sorrow. 

Should an unmarried woman go in and out of a house through a window which is not 
destined as a means of entrance or exit, she will never marry. 

An umbrella should never be opened in a house, or placed upon a table, quarrelling and 
strife are sure to follow. 

It is supposed to be very unlucky when going out of the house, if the first person you 
meet is a woman. Never pass her if you can avoid it, but stand still and let her pass you. 
To keep witches from catering a stable and molesting the cattle a piece of naturally 
pierced flint-stone should be tied to the key of the stable door. On going down to a beach 
it is considered lucky to pick up a small stone and bring it away with you. Never give 
away money with a hole in it. 

If you think you are bewitched or that any onj has a spite against you, throw a lump of 
salt on the fire, and as it burns blue the spite will evaporate. 

Fanny Ingrouille, of the Forest parish, from whom the foregoing was obtained, also repeated 
the following formula, which apparently was a programme for the week of a Guernsey 
country girl. 

" Au matin Pierre Martin t 
Au serJean M 'auger + 
Lundt, Mardi Fetes 
MercrediMa a la tete 
Jeudi, VendrediFort trav&s 
Samedi A la ville 
Dimanche Vee les filles." 

* Criblure, Metivier, p. 152. " In sifting corn the crainchons are the light 
and defective grair.s and husks that gather in the middle of the sieve, as it is 
worked with a circular motion. St. Andrew's is the middle parish of the 
island." From Mr. Lin-wood Pitts and " Bad 1 la goule" 

t"flfarffn" and " fli 'auger" are two of the most widely spread of the country name;, 




The following is a rhyme describing the girls of each parish, given me by the late Mr. 
Isaac I.e Patourel, of St. Martin's. 


" Ct sont les filles de la Ville 
Elles sont des jolies Belles ! 
Ce sont les filles de Saint Samson 
Elles sont bonnes pour le lanchon ! * 
Ce sont les filles du Valle 
Elles sont prites pour faire du mal ! 
Ce sont les filles du Cdte 
Biles sont pretes pour la gaiete ! 
Ce sont les filles de Saint Sauveur, 
Elles sont toutes de bouane humeur ! 
Ce sont les filles de Saint Pierre 
Ah ! qu'elles sont terjsuis a braire ! + 
Ce sont les filles de Tortevd 
Elles ont vraiment les pids de cA'vd ! 
Ce sont les filles de la Foret 
Dame ! ch'est gu'elles sont bien laides ! 
Ce sont les filles de St. Martin 
Elles sont niais comme des lapins ! 
Ce sont les filles de Saint Andre 
Elles seront toutes des delaissees ! " 

* Lanchon = Sand-eels. 

+ A braire = To weep. 


, Hbatfcr ^agings, ttt. 

" They serve to be interlaced in continued speech. They serre to be recited upon occasion 
of themselves. They serve, if you take out the kernel of them, and make them your own." 

Lord Verulam. 

|0 nation is without its proverbs; but while 
in many cases these pithy sayings are the 
same in all languages, and merely literal 
translations from one dialect to another, in other 
instances the idea only is present, and the words in 
which the proverb is expressed have little or nothing 
in common, as, for example, the English saying: 
" A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," 
appears in French in the far less picturesque form 
of " un ' tiens ' vaut mieut que deux * tu 
V auras,'' " Sometimes, from the peculiar circumstances 
of the people using it, a proverb takes a local tinge, 
and, in so doing, may change considerably from its 
original wording, while continuing at the same time 
to convey a similar lesson. Thus the pastoral 
saying : " To lose one's sheep for a penn'orth of tar," 
becomes, very naturally, among a nautical population, 
" to lose one's ship, etc." 

Some few proverbs are so thoroughly local as to 

510 6tft#8&? FOLK-LORE. 

appear to have originated in the place where they 
are used. 

Guernsey is not rich in proverbs properly so called; 
but, as might be expected among an agricultural and 
maritime people, weather-sayings are not uncommon. 
Many of these could no doubt be traced to the 
mother-country, Normandy, but some few may be 
indigenous, and the result of local observation. 

We will give specimens of each class of these 
proverbial expressions, with such remarks as may be 
necessary to explain them as far as they can be 
explained ; and, although many of them might be 
put into modern French, "we have preferred retaining 
the old Norman dialect still preserved as the 
language of all the rural parts of the island. 

Nou (on) ne va pas au jhn (ajonc) sans ses gants. 
No one goes to cut furze without gloves. If you 
would undertake an arduous matter, be well 
prepared for it. 

Cftest la coue (queue) qui est la piere (pire) a 
ecorchier (ecorcher). It is the tail that is the 
hardest to flay. It is often more difficult to bring 
an affair to a successful end than to begin it. 

Qui sent manjue (demangeaison) se gratte. He who 
itches scratches himself. Nearly equivalent to the 
English saying, " The cap fits." 

Quand le bouisse (boisseau) est pllein, V jette. When 
the bushel-measure is full it runs over. The last 
straw breaks the camel's back. 






Necessitai fait la vieille trottair. Need will make an 

old woman trot. 
Au broue (brouille, embarras) est le gan (gain, profit). 

No exact equivalent is to be found for this 

proverb, but it means that profit, in some way 

or other, may be made where there is much 

doing. The English saying " No pains, no gains," 

comes near it. 
Pus (plus) de broue que de travds (travail). More 

bustle than work. Much cry and little wool. 
Mettre daeux guerbes (deux gerbes) en un llian (lien). 

To bind up two sheaves with one wisp. To 

kill two birds with one stone. 
Biauta'i (beaute) sans bounta'i (bonte), ne vaut pas 

vin evantai. Beauty, without goodness, is not 

worth stale wine. 
Jj amour Jidle (tire) pAs (plus) que client (cent) bceufs. 

Love draws more than a hundred oxen. 
A p'tit pourche (pourceau) grosse pdnais. The little 

pig gets the big parsnip. The youngest child is 

the most petted. 
Qui paie s'acquitte; qui s'acquitte s'enrichit. He 

who pays his way keeps out of debt ; he who 

keeps out of debt gets rich. No comment is 

needed on this thoroughly practical proverb. 
Si nou (on) Hi dounne un peis (pois) i' prend une 

faive. If you give him a pea, he'll take a bean. 

Give him an inch, he'll take an ell. 
Ch'tiest pas ove (avec) du vinaigre que nous (on) 

attrdpe des mouques (mouches). Flies are not caught 

with vinegar. Nothing is to be gained by roughness. 
Qui peut volair (voler) un <zuf, peut volair un bceuf. 

He who would steal an egg would steal an 

ox. Be honest in the smallest matters. 


Jf'rine du guiablle (diable) s'en va en bran (son). 
The devil's flour turns to bran. Ill-gotten wealth 
never prospers. 

Chdngement d'herbage est bouan (bon) pour les janes 
viaux (jeunes veaux). Change of pasture is good 
for young calves. Variety is necessary for the 
young. " Home-keeping youth have ever homely 

J' ne faut pas faire le cottln (cabane, creche) d'vdnt 
que le man seit nai. (Avant que le veau ne soit 
ne). One must not make the crib before the calf 
is born. Do not count your chickens before they 
are hatched. 

S'il ne Va en breuf, il Vaira (Taurd) en soupe. If 
he does not get it in broth, he'll get it in soup. 
If he cannot obtain his end by one means, he 
will by another. 

Apprins au ber (berceau), dure jusqu'au ver. What 
is learnt in the cradle goes with one to the 
grave literally " to the worm." 

La bete d'un poure (pauvre) lioume (liomme) mourrait 
pus-d-caoup (plus tot) que li (lid). He would die 
more opportunely than a poor man's beast, is said 
of a person whose death would not leave much 
cause for regret. 

Les p'tits tchiens (cliiens) out de longues coues 
(queux). Is the equivalent of the French proverb, 
" dans les petites bottes les bons onguents ; " 
precious ointments are in small boxes. 

Ch'est une querrue a tcliiens (cJiarrue a cldens). It 
is a plough drawn by dogs, is said of any affair 
which is badly conducted where those who ought 
to work in concert . are pulling different ways, 
like two dogs on a leash. 


Un mouisson (oiseau) a la main vaut mtix que daeux 

,qui votent. A bird in the hand is worth two on 
ddiftavv .; 
the wing. 

II n'y a fagot qui n'trouve sen llidn (lien). There 
is no faggot but what at last finds a band. Every 
Jack has his Jill ; every dog has his day. 

I\ rtu a faqot qui n'vaut sa lliache (liasse). There 
ViOforcis *' 

is no faggot so bad as not to be worth a band. 

Qui mange la cra'ime ne rend pas du burre (beurre). 
He who eats his cream makes no butter. You 
cannot eat your cake and have it. 

I' ne vaut pas grand burre (beurre). He or it is not 
worth much butter; meaning, such an one is not 
worth much, the matter is not worth going to 
any expense about ; an allusion to a worthless 
fish on which the butter used in cooking it is so 
much thrown away. 

Ecoute-paret (paroi) jamais riot dret (n'ouit droit). 
An eavesdropper never hears good. 

I' n'y a rien itai (tel) que se (soi) sa qu'minse 
(cJiemise) lava'ir (laver). There is nothing like 
washing your own shirt. If you wish a thing 
well done, do it yourself. It is also used in the 
sense of " Wash your dirty linen at home." 

Nou (on) ne trdche (cherche) pas de la gra'isse dans 
le nic (nid) d'un tcliien (chien). No one thinks 
of looking for fat in a dog's kennel. Look not 
for qualities where they are not likely to be 
found, as generosity in a miser, or honesty in a 

Si un cat (chat) s'amord (s'adonne) au lard, nou ne 
, sairait (saurait) Ven d's'amordre. If a cat takes 
a liking for bacon you can't break her of it. It 
is difficult to get rid of bad habits. 


P'tit d p'tit Vouaise (oiseau) fait sen nic (nid). Little 
by little the bird builds her nest. Eome was not 
built in a day. 

Tout neti, g'net (neuf balai) nequie (nettoie) net. A 
new broom sweeps clean. 

JT' rfy a itdils (tels) qu3 les feniens (faineants') quand 
i" s'y mettent. There are none like idlers when 
they once set to work. 

Ch'est cauches (has, chausses) grises, et grises cauches. 
This is the equivalent of the French proverb 
" C'est bonnet blanc, et blanc bonnet," and the 
English, " Six of one, and half-a-dozen of the 

Ch'n'est pas les dens (ceux) qui labourent le pus pres du 
fossai (de la haie) qui sont les pus riches. It is not 
they who plough nearest the hedge who are the 
richest. Economy may be carried too far. 

I ' s'y entend coume d rama'ir (ramer) des cliaoux 
(clioux). He understands as much about it as about 
putting pea-sticks to cabbages. The meaning 
conveyed being : he knows nothing at all about it. 

Tout elm (ce) qwi vient de flot se retournera d'ebe. 
All that comes with the flood will return with 
the ebb. Kiches too rapidly acquired, or ill-gotten, 
will disappear as quickly as they came nearly 
equivalent to the French proverb " Ce qui vient 
de la flute s'en va par le tambour." 

Si rhoume dime autre mux que se (mieux que soi) 
au moulln i' mourra de set (soif). If a man 
loves others more than himself, he will die of 
thirst even were he in a mill. The mill spoken 
of in this selfish proverb, which is equivalent to 
" Look after number one," is, of course, a water- 

H H2 


Biauture (beau-temps, beaute) deliver ; santai 
(sante) de vieil homme ; parole de gentilhomme ; 
ne Vy fie, homme ! A fine day in winter, 
the health of an old man, the word of a 
nobleman ; trust to none of these, man ! The 
marked distinction of " noble" and "roturier," 
if such ever existed in Guernsey, died out many 
centuries ago ; and this proverb has all the 
appearance of an importation from Normandy, or 
.some other part of France, where the peasantry 
were oppressed by the feudal system. The word 
" biauture " does not belong to the Guernsey 
dialect, and when the saying is quoted in the 
present, it is generally with reference to the two 
first clauses. 

Un tclden (chien) vaut bien p'tit qui ne vaut pas un 
caoup de suffilet (coup de sifflet). A dog that 
is not worth whistling for is not worth much. 

Les grands diseurs sont de p'tits faiseurs. Great 
talkers are little doers. 

Ou 'est qidl y a du crottin, il y a du lapln. 
Where you see their droppings, you may expect 
to find rabbits. Used both literally and metaphori- 
cally. There is no smoke without fire. 

II y a terjous (ton jours) un epi qui mhnque a la 
guerbe (gerbe}. There is always a spike of corn 
lacking in the sheaf. Nothing is ever perfect. 

I 1 ri*y a bouais (bois} dont now (on) rtfait buche. 
There is no wood but what will serve for firing, 
meaning that everything can be put to some use 
or other ; but the latter half of the proverb is 
sometimes varied to " dont i* n j fait buclie" and 
it is then equivalent to the English saying "All 
is fish that comes to his net." 


Va ou tu peux, meurs ou tu dels (dois). Go where 
you can, die where you must. Dispose of your 
life as you please, death is inevitable. 

II est niais coume Dadais qui se couachait (couchait) 
dans I'iaue (eau) d'paeur (peur) d'etre mouailli 
(mouille). He is as foolish as Dadais who 
lay down in the water to avoid getting wet in a 

II est niais coume Dadais qui tdte I'iaue pour vee 
(voir) s'a bouit (bout). He is as stupid as Dadais 
who puts his hand into the water to feel if it is 

II est pus (plus) niais que Dadais qui se fouittait 
de crepes.* He is more simple than Dadais who 
flogged himself with pancakes. The word "Dadais" 
is used in the sense of simpleton. In the three 
sayings that we have just quoted "Dadais" bears 
a strong family resemblance to the " Simple 
Simons" and "Silly Billies" of English nursery 

Ch'tait du temps du Rouai (Hoi) -Jehan. Ch'etait 
du temps des Scots. Are used in speaking of events 
which took place beyond the memory of man. It 
is easy to understand how the reign of King 
John came to form an epoch in the history of 
Guernsey ; for it was then that the connexion 
with the mother-country, Normandy, was severed, 
and the islands, until then part and parcel of 
that Duchy, became attached to the Crown of 
England, and have so continued ever since. But 
it is not so easy to say when or how the latter 
saying originated. It may refer to an invasion 

.EDITOR'S NOTE. The version I have heard of this proverb is : "II est niais coume 
Padais qui se fouittait de crepes et tout-le-temps mourait de faira." 


of the island by David Bruce, about the tenth 
year of Edward III., (A.D. 1336) ; when great 
atrocities appear to have been committed on the 
inhabitants; but some old people seem to think 
and probably with reason that the " Scots " were 
a Scotch regiment sent here in the early part of 
last century on a fear of hostilities breaking out 
between England and France. It is right, however, 
to notice that in the Guernsey dialect " Ecossais" 
and not " Scots " is used to designate Scotchmen. 

I' mange coum' un varou. He eats like an ogre, 
is the exact English equivalent of this saying ; 
but there are few who use the saying who could 
say what is meant by u un varou." It is, un- 
doubtedly, the same as the French " loup-garou " 
in English a were-wolf ; and may have reference 
to the old superstition of men and women being 
turned into wolves. 

I 1 s'en est alla'i (alle) les pids (pieds) d'vant. 
He has gone feet foremost. He has been carried 
to his grave. 

II a eta'i enterra'i la tete es tchiens (aux chiens) 
dehors. Is used in the same sense as " being 
buried like a dog." 

II a tete et bonnet (bonnet). He has a head, yea, 
and a cap, is said of an opinionated man. 

/' n'en reste ni tcliiesse (cuisse) ni a'ile. There 
neither remains leg nor wing. All is lost, nothing 

/' quient (tient) d'la cliouque (souche). He's a 
chip of the old block. 

/' fait rille (raie) de gras. He is making a streak 
of fat, is said of a man who is prospering in his 
affairs, in allusion to a pig that is being fattened, 


J' peut manger sa gdche (galette) dordie (beurree) 
des daeux bords (des deux odtes). He can eat 
his cake buttered on both sides. He is rich 
enough not to be obliged to spare himself any 

J* mange sa dordie (tranche de pain beurre) grajie 
(grattee). He spares the butter on his bread, 
either from poverty or from avarice. It is " bread 
and scrape." 

J' prend les cauches (chausses, bas,) pour Us solers 
(souliers). He mistakes the stockings for the 
shoes. He is a blunderer who does not know 
one thing from another. 

H a paeux (peur) des p'tits sdlers (souliers). He 
is afraid of the little shoes, is said of a man 
who is unwilling to enter into the estate of 
matrimony for fear of the additional expenses that 
it will entail shoes for the children being a 
considerable item in the disbursements of a poor 

/' rien prend ni compte ni taille. He takes no 
account nor tally. He lets matters take their 

Via une fiere perruque a debouquer (demeler). There's 
a fine wig to comb out ! Is said of an affair 
which is almost hopelessly involved. 

II a fait pertus (pertuis, trou) sous Viaue (eau). 
He has made a hole in the water. He has 
disappeared furtively. Compare with the French 
saying " II a fait un trou a la lune." 

J' vet (voit) sept lieues dans la brune. He sees 
seven leagues through the fog, is said derisively 
of a man who boasts of being more clearsighted 
than his neighbours, 


II est monta'i (monte) sur ses pontificaux. He is 
in his pontificals, is equivalent to the English 
saying " He is riding the high horse," asserting 
his dignity when there is no need to do so. 

Ctiest le boudine (borgne) qui mene Vaveuglle. 
The one-eyed man is leading the blind man. 

Nou (on) ne salt pouit (point) ou il puche (puise). 
One knows not what well he draws from, is said 
of a man who manages to get on without any 
very visible means of existence. 

Trop de cuisiniers gdtent la soupe. Too many 
cooks spoil the broth. 

/' n'y a pas de rue sans but. There is no road 
but has an ending. Equivalent to "It is a long 
lane that has no turning." 

S'il y avait un demarieur, il air ait (aurait) pus 
(plus) a faire que tous les marieurs. If there 
were an " un-marryer " he would have more work 
to do than all the " marryers." 

Ce n'est pas tout que les chaous, faut de la graisse 
a les cuire. Cabbages alone are not sufficient, 
one must have grease to cook them with. Gene- 
rally applied to " parvenus," who have money 
but no manners. 

Nou' n'engraisse pouit les p'tits cochons d'iau fine. 
Little pigs are not fattened by pure water. 

Vieille pie a plus d'un pertus a son nic (nid). An 
old magpie has more than one hole in her nest. 
Said of a man who is skilful at evasion. 

T\as acouare les jaunes talons. You have still got 
yellow heels, is said to youngsters who are too 
presuming in giving their opinion in the presence 
of their elders. Compare the French " blanc-bec " 
and " bejaune." 


Gtiest la verme'ine (vermine) qui mange (mange) 
I'tds (le tas). It is the vermin that eats up 
the stack. Said of a father who has a large 
family of children drawing upon him and eating 
up all his savings. 

There are certain popular sayings which contain a 
comparison, and which, although in a strict sense 
they cannot be called proverbs, may yet be classed 
with them. Some of these contain words which have 
become obsolete, or, at least, antiquated. " Vier 
(vieux) comme suee " equivalent to "As old as the 
hills," may be quoted as an example, for not only 
is the word "suee" obsolete, but its very meaning 
is forgotten and unknown. Mr. George Metivier, a 
learned philologist, author of the Dictionnaire Franco- 
Normand, on Recueil des Mots particuliers au Dialecte 
de Guernesey, is inclined to refer it to the old French 
suee signifying sueur, sweat, used in the sense of 
labour. The conjecture is ingenious, but not quite 

I' s'est manial (manie) coume un albroclie. He 
has conducted himself like a boor. Eoquefort 
in his " Glossaire de la Langue Bomane " 
explains the word Allobroge as " un homme 
grossier, un rustre, etc.," and gives Adlobrius, 
Allobrox, as the Latin forms. According to 
Ducange, these words signify a citizen or native 
of Gaul, The Allobroges, however, in the time 



of the Eoman Empire, were the tribes inhabiting 
Savoy and Piedmont. 

bet (boit) coume un alputre. Is used in the sense of 
" He drinks likes a fish," but why the alputre, 
rockling, or sea-loach, should be singled out among 
fishes for bibulous propensities, it is impossible to guess. 
pllewt coume cis (chez) Pierre de Garis. Is used 
in the sense of "raining cats and dogs." A 
certain Pierre de G-aris, a merchant of Bayonne, 
in the time when Aquitaine was governed by 
English Princes, was appointed to the responsible 
office of Bailiff of Guernsey, about the year 1325.* 


The following shoit pedigree of the first members of the de Garis family in the island may 
prove interesting- : It is extracted from the proceedings of the law suit re the Fief Handois 
in 1497. See Additional MSS. British Museum, 30, 188. 


Eldest son, 
of Gascony. 

of Bayonne, Gascony 
Bailiff and Lieut. - 
Governor of Guernsey, 
Seigneur of Fief 
Handois, Jersey. 
Died before A.D. 1323. 


of Normandy. 

Denis le= 

Mar chant 

Bonita de Garis Biscaya de Garis 
daughter and daughter and 
co-heiress. co-heiress 
Died before 1323, 
and her husband. 
Denis de Marchant 
married secondly 
Peronelle le 
Moigne. _ 




John de Garis =Alianor William 

Seigneur of de Chesney de 

Fief Handois, daughter of Garis. 
Jersey, Jurat i Sir Wm. de 
of K.C. Jersey, ' Chesney, and 


Joan de 
Gorges. She 
married second 
Geoffrey Walsh. 

John Le Marchant= 

Jurat R.C. 1350. 
Bailiff of Guernsey 

Edmund de Garis 
Seigneur of Fief Handois. 
Jurat R.C. Jersey. 
O.S.P. Ante 1497. 

Denis le Marchant=Jeanette de Chesney, 
Jurat R C. and I youngest daughter 
Lieut. -Bailiff. | of Sir William de 
Chesney and 
Joan de Gorges. 


In the " Extente" of 1331, Pierre and John de Garis held land in the parishes of St. Peter 
Port, St. Andrew's, St. Peter's-in-the-Wood, and St. Sampson's. In the " Calendars of Patent 
Rolls " for the years 1328-36, we find Nicholaa, Abbess of the Holy Trinity, Caen, nominating 
Peter and William de Garis her Attorneys in the Channel Islands, and in 1332 a Commission was 
given to Robert de Norton, William de la Rue, and Peter de Garis to survey the King's Castles 
and Mills in the islands of Jersey and Guernsey which are reported to be greatly in need of 
repair, and to certify by whose default, and by whom they fell into decay. In 1380, a William 
de Garis, described as being " de 1'isle dc Guerneseye," sold to " Sire Pierre Payn " the Manor 
of Malorey in St. Laurent, Jersey, to which parish the Fief Handois also belonged. 


In all probability he derived his name from a 
small town called G-aris, about half-way between 
Bayonne and St. Jean-de-Luz. He became the 
founder of a family of importance, not only in 
Guernsey, but also in the ' neighbouring island 
of Jersey, and of which there are still numerous 
descendants. It is not very likely that the saying 
dates so far back as the fourteenth century, 
although it has no doubt a very respectable 
antiquity. We can only conjecture that it must 
have derived its origin from some well-known 
Pierre de Garis of indolent or miserly habits, who 
allowed the roof of his dwelling to fall into decay 
and let in the rain, and so became a by-word 
with his neighbours. 

Ill 1 y en a assa'i (assez) pour tons les Tostevins. 
There is enough for all the Tostevins is said 
when there is an abundance of anything enough 
and to spare. The name is extremely common 
in the western parishes of Guernsey, especially 
in St. Pierre-du-Bois and Torteval, where many 
of those who bear it are stone-masons who walk 
every day into town a distance of five or six 
miles to their work. Perhaps the good appetite 
they acquire in so long a walk may have had 
something to do in originating the saying. 

Jaune coume q'zette. As yellow as a daffodil, is 
equivalent to the English saying " As yellow 
as crow's foot." It is sometimes varied to 
" jaune coume du murlu" this last word being 
the local name of the corn-marigold and the ox- 
eye daisy. 

Vert coume ache. As green as smallage a herb 
closely allied to celery and parsley, and, like 


them, intensely green is used where we should 
say in English "As green as grass." 

Ghier (cher) coume paivre (poivre). As dear as 
pepper, is a comparison which must have originated 
when this useful condiment, now within the reach 
of the poorest, was a luxury brought from far 
and obtainable only by the rich. Quit-rents 
payable in pepper were not unknown in the 
middle-ages ; and in the Extente, or account of the 
revenues and obligations of the Crown in Guernsey, 
drawn up in the fifth year of the reign of King 
Edward III., A.D. 1331, there is an item of a 
quarter of a pound of pepper to be paid annually 
at Michaelmas, by a tenant of lands situated in 
the parish of St. Martin's. The money payment 
for which this rent was commuted at that time 
was twelve deniers tournois, which would make 
the value of a pound four sols tournois, no 
inconsiderable sum in those days. 

7' clidnte coume un orateur. He sings like an 
orator. A loud voice is certainly desirable in one 
who attempts to speak in public. Our countrymen 
seem to consider it equally necessary and admirable 
in a singer. 

Orguillaeux (prgueilleux} coume un poudis (pou) sus 
v'louss (velours). As proud as that insect which 
Shakespeare calls " a familiar beast to man " 
may be supposed to feel when it finds itself 
on velvet. 

Gaud (chaud) coume braize. As hot as embers, 
needs no explanation. 

Ch'est coume un bourdon dans une canne. It is like 
a humble bee in a can is said of a droning 
monotonous style of preaching or speaking. 


Ch'est coume les prieres de Jacques Ozanne qui 
riont pas de fin. It is like James Ozanne's 
prayers which never come to an end. This is 
said of any matter which is prolonged to an 
unreasonable extent ; but nothing seems now to 
be known of the individual whose lengthy suppli- 
cations gave rise to the saying. 

T'es coume Jean Le Tocq. You are like Jean Le Tocq. 
This is addressed to a man who is seen abroad 
at an earlier hour than usual, and contains an 
allusion to two lines in the old Guernsey ballad 
of the invasion of the island by Evan of Wales 
in 1373, where it is said : 

" Jean Le Tocq sy se leva 

Plus matin qu'a Vaccoutumee." 
Indeed this last line is generally added. 

II a la conscience de la jument Rabey qui mangit 
s'en pouldin. He has the conscience of Eabey's 
mare, who ate her foal. Said of an utterly hard- 
hearted and unscrupulous man. The Eabeys are a 
well-known country family, and it is possible that 
this proverb refers to some domestic tragedy, the 
details of which have long been forgotten. 

Avoir le corset de Maitre George. To wear the 
corset of Maitre George. An allusion is here 
meant to a certain George Fenien. The Fe"niens 
were a family who owned property in Fountain 
Street, and seem to have become extinct towards 
the middle of the eighteenth century. This 
expression is applied to an indolent man, so that 
the " Maitre George Fenien " * here alluded to 

EDITOR'S NOTE. * A " George Fenien " was in existence at the end of the sixteenth 
'century, and his daughter Collette Fenien, was married to William Brock, ancestor of the 
Brocks of Guernsey. William Brock died in 1582. 


must have lived up to his name, Fenien 
Faineant a sluggard. We have seen in some of 
the preceding proverbs and sayings, allusions to 
individuals and families. Here are two or three 
more of the same kind : 

P fait de sen Queripel. Is untranslatable literally, 
but may be rendered " he acts like a Queripel." 
and is said of a man whose vanity leads him to 
give himself airs, and take too much upon 
himself. The name existed in Guernsey as early 
as the fourteenth century, at which time it was 
written Carupel, but there is not the slightest 
clue when or how the saying originated. It may 
possibly be a corruption of some proverbial expres- 
sion current in Normandy. 

// est dans Us Arables de Mons. Roland. " He 
has got into Mr. Roland's Arabias," is a remark 
made when a preacher, a public speaker, or any 
one who sets up for a talker, has got beyond his 
depth, and is discoursing on a subject which he 
does not understand. The Rolands, now extinct, 
are believed to have been a Huguenot family 
that took refuge in Guernsey in the sixteenth 
century.* The Mons r . Roland who figures in the 
saying is supposed to have been a schoolmaster, f 

Ch'est prendre de Pierre Gliyvret pour doundir a 
Monsieur Car eye. " It is taking from Pierre 


* In the " Placita Corona; " held in the reign of Edward III., William, son of Robert Roland, 
held land in the Vale parish. In a deed of zjrd of August, 1517, dealing with land in St. 
Sampson's parish, south of the "Grand Pont" the "Rue Roland" is mentioned ; in 1569, 
there was living in St. Sampson's parish a Richard Roland and Collenette Le Retylley, his 
wife, and (2nd November, 1569) Thomas Roland and Jeanne Blondel, his wife, bought a house 
in St. Peter Port from Jean Le Monies ; so the probabilities are that the Rolands, if they 
migrated from France, did so before the Huguenot persecutions, and had been domiciled in 
Guernsey long anterior to the sixteenth century. 

t Or he may have been the " Monsieur Jean Roland," son of Thomas and Elizabeth 
Bailleul, who was Rector of S. Pierre-du-Bois, and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 
1665, for his refusal to submit to the Act of Uniformity. 




Chyvret to give to Mr. Carey," is used in the 
sense of " sending coals to Newcastle," or " taking 
from the poor to give to the rich ; " but who the 
particular individuals were whose names figure in 
this saying it is impossible to say. In the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth a Mr. Nicholas Careye was 
farmer of most, if not all, the mills in Guernsey 
situated on the Crown domain, he being then 
Her Majesty's Keceiver. At a time when all 
persons residing on a manor were obliged to bring 
their corn to be ground at their Lord's mill, 
under severe penalties, such a monopoly in the 
mills as Mr. Carey possessed, must have tended 
to make him a very wealthy man.* It is not 
unlikely that he, or one of his immediate descen- 
dants, who enjoyed the same privilege, may have 
been the person whose name became proverbial 
for riches. The name of Peter Chyvret occurs in 
another saying too coarse to be quoted, but which 
suggests the idea that he may have been an 
idiot, and, if so, probably living on charity. It 
is, however, worth noting that a certain Peter 
Chyvret was, about the beginning of the present 
century, in possession of property situated in the 
neighbourhood of one of the mills of which we 
have spoken. He is reported to have been one 
of those eccentric characters of whom it is difficult 
to say whether they have all their mental 
faculties a mixture, in fact, of shrewdness and 
simplicity. As he was by no means in indigent 
circumstances it is scarcely probable that he can 
be the same man alluded to in this saying. 

EDITOR'S NOTE.* It was this Monsieur Careye, who in September, 1563, bought the Fief 
Blanchelande from Her Majesty's Commissioners ; he married Collette de la Marche and was 
buried isth of July, 1593. 


Tenir ct pinche-bele'ine. Means to hold lightly, 
without a firm grasp. It is used in the following 
proverbial saying : 

" A pinche-bele'ine su la haute epeine, 

Si je m'deroque je rien dirai mot." 
Which may be freely translated: "Holding on 
too lightly, if I fall from the tree I shall say 
nothing about it." If I suffer from my own 
negligence I must not complain. 

We now come to a class of proverbial sayings 
which might almost claim an exclusive right to the 
title of " Folk-Lore," those relating to the weather 
and other natural phenomena, ; and which, being the 
result of long experience on the part of the people, 
are religiously believed in by them. Many of these 
sayings are common, in spirit if not in form, to the 
greater part of Europe ; some of them are confined 
to certain districts ; and, although a few may have 
a superstitious aspect, such as those which profess 
to predict what events will happen in the course of 
the year from an observation of the weather on a 
particular holy day, yet some of them may be worthy 
the notice of meteorologists, who have discovered 
that, in many cases, the probable character of the 
weather in a particular month may be guessed at 
by that which prevailed at an earlier season. 
Janvier a daeux bouniaux (deux bonnets), Fcvrier en 
a treis (trots). January wears two caps, February 

i I 


wears three. As a rule February is the coldest 
. month in the year. In. a curious old MS. of 
the sixteenth century, containing memoranda of 
household accounts,, copies of wills, and various 
entries of more v or less interest, written between 
the years 1505 and 1569 by various members of a 
, f fa^mjly of the name of Girard, landed proprietors 
in the parish of Ste. Marie-du-Castel in Guernsey, 
we find the following weather prognostications for 
St. Vincent's Day (January 22nd), and the Feast 
of the Conversion of St. Paul, (January 25th). 
" Prens garde au jour St. Vincent 
Car sy se jour tu vois et sent 
Que le soleil soiet cler et biau 
Nous erons du vin plus que d'eau." 

" Sy le jour St. Paul le convers 

Se trouve byaucob descouvert, 

L'on aura pour celle say son 

Du bled et du foyn a foyson ; 

Et sy se jour fait vant sur terre ; 

Ce nous synyfye guerre ; 

S'yl pleut ou nege, sans fallir, 

Le elder tans nous doet asalir ; 

Sy de nyelle faict, brumes ou brouillars, 

Selon le dyt de nos vyellars, 

Mortalitey nous est ouverte." 

Similar sayings are to be found in Latin, English, 
German, Italian, and other languages. 

February, as every one knows, is the shortest month 
in the year ; but few know 'why. This is how it 
is accounted for by old people in Guernsey: " Fevrier 
dit a Janvier : ' Si fetais a votre pieche (place) je 
frais gela'ir (geler) les pots sus le faeu (feu) et les 


p'tits vfdns (enfants) aux seins de leurs meres ' et 
pour son impudence i' fut raccourchi (raccourci) de 
daeux jours, et Janvier fut aloigni . (alongt).' ' 
February said to January : If I were in your place 
I would cause the pots to freeze on the fire, and 
babes at their mothers' breasts, and for his insolence 
he was shortened of two days, and January was 

The most intense cold in the year generally sets 
in with February ; and this saying reminds me of what 
is told in Scotland, and in many parts of the north of 
England, of the borrowing days, the three last days of 
March (See Brand's Popular Antiquities, Bohn's edition, 
Vol. II., p. 41-44). It appears, however, according to 
this authority, that in the Highlands of Scotland the 
borrowing days are the three first days of February, 
reckoned according to the old style, that is, the days 
between the eleventh and the fifteenth. 

February 2nd, Candlemas Day. Fine weather on 
this day is supposed to prognosticate a return of 
cold. The following lines were communicated by a 
country gentleman, but they have not quite the 
same antique ring as those relating to St. Paul's 
and St. Vincent's Days, and may, possibly, be a more 
recent importation from France. 
" Selon les anciens se dit : 

Si le soleil clairement luit 

A' la Chandeleur vous verrez 

QiC encore, un hiver vous aurez." 

" Qudnd Mars durerait client cms r hiver durerait 
autdnt. If March were to last for a hundred 
years, winter would last as long. 

Mars qid entre coume un agne (agneaii) sortira coume 

I i2 


un touare (taureau). The Guernsey form of this 
saying substitutes a bull in the place of a lion. 

Mars a enviai (envoye) sa vieille tracMer (chercher) 
des buquettes (buchettes). When, after a spell of 
comparatively mild weather, March comes with 
blustering winds, breaking off the small dry 
branches from the trees, the country people say 
that he has sent out his old wife to look for 
sticks ; and predict that, as he is laying in a 
store of fuel, the cold is likely to last. 

Pdques Martine guerre, peste, ou famine. Easter hap- 
pening in March, forebodes war, pestilence, or famine. 

A None a ses perrons, a Pdques a ses tisons. If at 
Christmas you can sit at your doorstep, at Easter 
you will be glad to sit by your fire. 

Avril le doux quand il s'y met le pure de tous. 
Or, as th3 Norman antiquary, Pluquet, gives it : 
" Quand il se fucJie, le pire de tous." When the 
weather is bad in April, it is the worst of all 
the months. 

En Avril, ne quitte pas un fil. In April leave not 
off a stitch of clothing a piece of advice which 
is well warranted by the sudden and extreme 
changes in the temperature in this month. On 
the other side, this advice holds good a month 
later " Till May be out cast not a clout." 

Gaud (cJiaud) Mai, gras cliimequiere (cimetiere), fred 
(froid) Mai, granges plla'ines (pleines). A warm 
May, a fat churchyard, a cold May, fat granaries. 

A' la mie Acut, I'hiver noue. About mid-August 
there is usually a marked change in the weather, 
gales of wind and heavy rain generally occurring 
at this season, and any long continuance of settled 
fine weather, is scarcely to be hoped for. This 


has led to the remark that winter " sets "at 
this time ; as the blossoms in Spring set for 

A 1 la mi-S'tembre, les jours et les nits s'entre ressem- 
blent. In the middle of September, days and 
nights are alike. 

Six s'ma'ines avant None, et six s'ma'ines apres, les 
nits font les pus longues, et les jours les pus 
freds. Six weeks before Christmas and six weeks 
after, the nights are the longest and the days 
the coldest. This saying is scarcely correct in 
Guernsey, as very cold weather about the end or 
the beginning of the year is rather the exception 

than the rule in this climate. 


Si le soleil liet a mejeur, le jour de Noue, il y aura 
bien des faeux I'annaie ensuivant. If the sun shines 
at noon on Christmas Day, there will be many 
fires lighted in the ensuing year. 

Aube gelaie est bietot lava'ie. Hoar-frost is soon 
washed away, or, as another weather proverb 
says : " Aprcs treis aubes gela'ies vient la pllie." 
After three hoar-frosts comes rain, a saying which 
experience amply bears out. 

Vent d'amont qui veur durair, au ser va se reposa'ir. 
An east wind that intends to last, goes to rest 
in the evening. 

Vent d'amont ove (avec) pllie, ne vaut pas un fllie 
(patelle). An east wind with rain is not worth 
a limpet. 

Quand i' plleut ove vent d'amont, ch'est merveille si 
tout ne fond. Eain from the east is rare ; but 
when it does occur it is so heavy and continuous 
as to give rise to the saying that it is a wonder 
that everything does not melt. 


C kerne (cerne) a la lune, le vent, la pllie, ou la 
brune When there's a circle round the moon, 
wind, rain, or fog, will follow soon. 

Cherne de llien (loin), tourmente de pres ; clierne de 
pres, tourmente de llien. If the halo round the 
moon is large and at a distance, it denotes that a 
storm is at hand, if, on the contrary, it is small 
and near the moon, the storm will not "arrive for 
some time. 

Clierne a, la lune, jamais n'a fait amena'ir 'mat d'hune. 
A circle round the moon has never caused top- 
mast to be struck. It is difficult to reconcile this 
saying with the preceding, unless by supposing that 
sailors are so convinced that a circle round the 
moon portends bad weather that they are careful 
to shorten sail before the gale comes on. 

Cherne an soleil i' ne fera pas demain bel. A solar 
halo means bad weather to-morrow. 

Si le soleil est rouage (rouge) au ser (soir), 
Ctiest pour biau temps aver (avoir), 
S'il est rouage au matin, 
Cli'est la mare au chemin. 

If the sun sets red, it is a sign of fine weather, 
but when he rises red, you may expect to see 
pools of water on the road. 

Rouage ser, gris matin, cli'est la jouaie (joie) du 
pelerin. A red evening and a grey morning are 
the pilgrim's joy, but this saying is sometimes 
varied to : 

Rouage ser, bllanc matin, eldest la journa'ie du pelerin. 
A red evening and a white morning is the day 
for the pilgrim. 

En Avril, le coucou crie, s'il est en vie. In April, 
the cuckoo sings, if he is alive. The cuckoo 


generally arrives in Guernsey about the 15th of 


Le cou-cou 8*en va en Aout, 
L'epi d'orge li pique la gorge. 
The cuckoo departs in August, 
The barley-spike pricks his throat. 

It is not easy to draw a clear line between those 
sayings which have reference to the weather, and those 
which relate to agricultural pursuits and experience ; 
but the following appear to fall more naturally under 
the latter head : 

Qudnd V plleut ove vent d'aval, 
Nourrit Vhoume et sen cheval ; 
Qudnd V plleut ove vent d'amont, 
digest merveille si tout ne fond. 

When it rains with a westerly wind it feeds man and 
beast; but when it rains with an east wind, it is 
a marvel if everything does not melt. 
Li 1 arc (Valliance du soir, bel a voir, 
L'arc d'alliance du matin, fait la mare a chemin. 
Eainbow in the evening, fair to see; rainbow in the 

morning, there will be pools on the roads. 

Si tu vois le soleil le jour de la Chandeleur, sauve le 

foin, car tu en auras besoin. If you see the sun on 

Candlemas Day, save your hay for you will want it. 

A' la Paintecoute, les grouaisiaux se godtent. Green 

gooseberries are in perfection at Whitsuntide. 
De la St. Michel a None (Noel) une pllante ne sait pas 
elm (ce) que nou (on) li fait. From Michaelmas 


to Christmas a plant does not know what you do 
to it. 

De la Toussaint a None un arbre ne sait pas cliu 
que non li fait. From All Saints' Day to 
Christmas a tree knows not what is done to it. 
The autumnal quarter is supposed to be the best 
for transplanting trees or shrubs, as at that time 
the vigorous growth that had been going on in 
spring and summer has ceased, and there is less 
danger of their suffering from the change. 

None n'est pas None sans pdcrolle (paquerette prime- 
vtre). Christmas is not Christmas unless there be 

None est ptitbt Noue, sans pdcrolle, que sans agne 
(agneau). A Christmas without primroses is more 
rare than a Christmas without lambs. Another 
version is : 

Non ne vit jamais None, sans pdcrolle ou p'tit 
ague. This saying, as well as the preceding, 
seems to refer particularly to the occurrence of 
that harbinger of spring, the primrose, at this 
season. With the exception occasionally of a few 
very cold days about the beginning of November, 
the weather in Guernsey up to Christmas, and 
frequently far into January, is remarkably mild; 
vegetation is scarcely checked, and many summer 
flowers continue to bloom freely up to this time. 
It is a well-known fact that the primrose, like 
many other plants and most bulbs, has its period 
of repose during the hot and dry weather of 
summer, the flowering ceasing about the end of 
May, and the leaves withering away. In the 
autumn there is a , fresh growth of leaves, and 
the flower buds, which had been already formed 


towards the end of spring, but had been prevented 
by the drought from expanding, are ready to 
burst into bloom with the mild days that generally 
usher in Christmas, the earliest blossoms being 
invariably found on the north sides of the hedges, 
where the latest flowers of the preceding summer 
lingered, the plants with a south aspect having 
exhausted their bloom in the hot weather. 
A flleur de Mars ni pouque (poclie) ni sac ; 
A flleur d'Avril -pouque et baril ; 
A flleur de Mai barrique et tonne (tonneau). 
Blossom in March requires neither bag nor sack ; 
Blossom in April fills bag and barrel ; 
Blossom in May fills hogshead and tun. 
This saying refers to the apple crop, and the quantity 
of cider that may be expected, judging from the 
month in which the trees come into bloom. 

Seme tes concombres en Mars, 

Tu n j airas qu' faire de pouque ni de sac ; 

Seme-les en Avril, tu en airas un petit ; 

Me, f les semerai en Mai ; 

Et fen airai pus que te (toi). 

Sow your cucumbers in March, you will want neither 
bag nor sack ; sow them in April, you will have a 
few ; I will sow mine in May, and I shall have 
more than you. 

Pouit (point) de vraic, pouit de liaugard. No sea- 
weed, no corn ricks. The sea-weed, vraic or 
varech, which grows in such abundance on all the 
rocks round the islands, is of the utmost impor- 
tance to the farmer. It is almost the only 
dressing used for the land, stable manure being 
scarce and expensive. Hence the saying quoted 
above ; for without sufficient manure the crops are 


sure to fall short. The haugard, or, more 
correctly, haut gard, (high yard) is the enclosure 
near a homestead on which the ricks are erected. 

Dtibet (degel) de pllie, ne vaut pas une ftlie (patille) ; 
debet de .sec, vaut demi-fumasure (fumier). A thaw 
with rain is not worth a limpet ; a thaw with 
dry weather is worth half a load of manure. 

Un essaim en Mai vaut une vaque (vache) a lait. A 
swarm of bees in May is worth a milch cow. 

Ou est qu'll y a un cardon (char don) ch'est du pain; 
ou est qu'ill y a du laitron, chest la faim. 
Where thistles grow there will be bread, where 
the sow-thistle grows it is famine. The latter is 
mostly found in very poor land. 

II vaut max pour un houme d'aner un perclieux 
(paresseux) dans son menage qu'un frene sur s'n 
heritage. It is better for a man to have a lazy 
fellow in his service than an ash-tree on his estate. 
The shade of the ash is believed to be destructive 
of all vegetation over which it extends ; and it is 
this belief that has in all probability given rise 
to this saying. This proverb sometimes takes the 
following form : 

Bdtard dans sen lignage 

Vaut max qu'un frene sur s'n heritage. 

attft jltarithm 

The following sayings may be termed piscatory and 

A qudnd le boeuf est las, le bar est gras. When the 

ox is weary, that is, when ploughing has come 


to an end for the season, the bass is in good 
condition. This fish is decidedly best in summer. 

A qudnd Vorge epicotte, le vrac est bouan sous la 
roque. When the barley comes into ear, the 
wrasse or rock-fish, is at its best. 

L'dne de Balaam a pedal (parle) fairon du macre 
(maquereau). Balaam's ass has spoken, we shall 
soon have mackerel. The mackerel, it is almost 
needless to say, is a migratory fish, arriving on 
our coasts in the spring, and remaining with us 
till late in the summer. Formerly the reading of 
the First Lesson at Evensong on the first Sunday 
after Easter, in which . the story of Balaam and his 
ass is told, was considered a sure indication that the 
welcome shoals would soon make their appearance. 
The Cornish fishermen have the same saying. 

Old fishermen pay great attention to the direction of 
the "wind at sunset on old Michaelmas Day (10th 
October), for they firmly believe that from whatever 
point it blows at that time, the prevailing winds 
for two-thirds of the ensuing twelve months will 
be from that quarter. 

Grand mair (mer) ou morte iaue (eau), 
La lune au sud, il est basse iaue. 

Whether it be spring tides or neap tides, when the 
moon is due south it will be low water. 

EDITOR'S NOTE. Another version ; " Vive iaue ou morte iaue, La lune au sud, il 
est basse iaue." From John de Gatis, Esq. 

A few sayings omitted may find a place here : 
Alle ira su le coquet de I'Eglise ramendair (racom- 
moder) les braies (culottes) des viers garcons. She 


will get a seat on the weather-cock of the church 
and mend old bachelor's breeches, is said of old 
maids, and is equivalent to the English saying, 
" She will lead apes in hell." 

Ch'est une autre pare (paire) de candies (has, 
chausses). That's another pair of stockings, is 
used in the sense of " That's quite another affair." 

A quand les flies suffllent (siffient] \e guiaUle (diable) 
ieJiuque. When girls whistle the devil laughs 
outright. Whistling is not generally reckoned among 
feminine accomplishments, and by many would cer- 
tainly be considered as a symptom of what, in the 
present day, is termed " fastness " in the fair sex. 
According to the Northamptonshire proverb : 
" A whistling woman and crowing hen, 
Are neither fit for God nor men." 

In Normandy they say: "Une poule qui chante 
le coquet, et une fille qui siffle, portent malheur 
dans la maison." * 

And in Cornwall: "A whistling woman and a crowing 
hen, are the two unluckiest things under the sun." 

Trachier (chercher) la Ville par Torteval. To seek for 
the Town by way of Torteval, is said of one who 
goes a round-about way to work. The rural 
parish of Torteval, situated at the south-west 
corner of Guernsey, is, of all the parishes in the 
island, the one furthest removed from the town 
of St. Peter Port. Compare the French " Chercher 
midi a quatorze heures." 

EDITOR'S NOTK. * In Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute: Bretagne, Tome II., p. 29., 
are various sayings to the same effect, such as : 
" Fille siffler. 
Poule chanter, 
Et coq qui pond, 
frois diables dans la maison," 


II ot (ouit, entend) fin coume une iragne (araignee). 
His sense of hearing is as quick as that of a 
spider. Whether the abrupt retreat of the common 
wall-spider into the inner recesses of its web, at 
the approach of anything that alarms it, is to be 
attributed to the sense of hearing, sight, or feeling, 
would be difficult to determine. The fact, how- 
ever, has been noticed, and has given rise to 
this saying. 

Entre le bee et le morce, 
III y a souvent du destorbier. 
T'wixt cup and lip there's many a slip. 
Qui epouse Jerriais ou Jerriaise, 
Jamais ne vivra a s'n aise. 

In all countries and in all ages jealousies and dislikes 
have existed between neighbouring communities. 
The inhabitants in Guernsey and Jersey are not 
exempt from these feelings, which find vent in 
malicious tales told of each other. The saying 
quoted above is common in Guernsey ; probably its 
counterpart exists in Jersey, substituting " Guer- 
nesiais " for " Jerriais." It by no means follows, 
however, that the want of comforb in these mixed 
marriages may not be quite as attributable to the 
one side as the other. 

H y a terjous quiqu'un qui a sa qu'minse a sequier. 
There is always some one wanting to dry his 
shirt. The weather never suits everybody's wants. 
J' rfa que vie d'alangoura'i (languissant). Equal to 
the English saying " A creaking door hangs 

Si un lioume n'a pas le sens de pdla'ir (parler) 
il est bien sage s'il a le sens de se taire. A 
man who has not the sense to speak is still 


a wise man if he has the sense to hold his 

/' faut saver ouir, veer, et se taire. One should 
know how to hear, see, and be silent. 

La surname qui vient is the equivalent of the English 
" To-morrow come-never." 

Chu qu' nou Ji'a jamais veu, et jamais ne verra, 
Cli'est le nic d'une souaris dans Voreille d'un cat. 
In the Folk-Lore Record, Vol. III., Part I., p. 76, 
we find the Breton equivalent of this saying : 
" One thing you have never seen, a mouse's nest 
in a cat's ear." We are not told, however, whether 
the proverb is found in the French patois of 
Upper Brittany, or in the Celtic dialect still spoken 
in Lower Brittany la Bretagne bretonnante. 

J' va d'vant ses betes, or I's'met d'vant ses betes. 
He is going before his team, is said of a prodigal, 
one who is out-running his income. 
CKest une pouquie (pochce) de pitches (puces) or de souaris. 
Is a sackful of fleas, or of mice, is said of a 
person who is very lively and always on the move. 

11 nest si bouane (bonne) bete qui riait quigu (quelque) 
old. There is no beast so good but that it has 
some fault or vice. It is worthy of notice that 
the word "ohi" is gone entirely out of use except 
in this proverb. 

7' vit d' 'amour et de belles chansons court les alouettes de 
roques (pierres, cailloux). The first part of this saying 
He lives on love and fine songs is frequently 
used alone, but it is often capped by the conclud- 
ing words, " As larks do on stones," meaning that 
something more nourishing is needed to keep body 
and soul together. 

" Un mouisson (oisseau) dans la main vaut mux que daeux 


qui volent." " Un mouisson a la main en vaut daeux 
sur la branque (branche.) " " Un pourche (pourceau) 
dans sen pare en vaut daeux d' par les rues." All these 
are equivalent to the English proverb : "A bird 
in the hand is worth two in the bush," but the 
last must have originated in days long gone by, 
when swine were allowed to roam at their will 
about the streets. 

/' ?i' y a pas de cousins a Terre-Neuve. There are no 
cousins at Newfoundland. This somewhat selfish 
proverb, indicating that where one's own interest 
is at stake the ties of consanguinity go for little, 
although occasionally heard in Guernsey, originated 
most probably either in Jersey or St. Malo, both 
which ports are largely engaged in the cod fisheries 
on the banks of Newfoundland. Jersey, indeed, 
owes her commercial prosperity almost entirely to 
this branch of industry, to which, it is said, the 
attention of the inhabitants was directed by Sir 
Walter Ealeigh during the time that he held the 
office of Governor of the island. During the 
Middle Ages the fisheries in the Channel Islands 
were very productive, and a source of considerable 
revenue to the Crown, but the discovery of 
Newfoundland, and the superior quality of the 
codfish caught on its shores, drove the salted conger 
and mackerel of the island out of the market. 

Le cut d*un sac et la langue d'une femme gagnent terjous. 
In former days, when horses were more employed 
in carrying loads than they are at the present 
time when carts are in universal use, it was 
observed that a sack thrown across the back of 
a horse had a tendency to slip down gradually 
in the direction opposite to its mouth. This 


explains the first part of the proverb ; the second 
part is equivalent to the saying that a woman will 
always have the last word and gain her end at last. 

Nou veit bien pus de me'ines de cjdche crue que de biaux 
musiaux. One sees many more pasty, doughy looking 
faces than pretty ones. Said in very cold weather. 

Ctiriest que faeu et flldmme. It is nothing but fire and 
flame, said of a boaster, and also of a passionate 
man, whose temper quickly rises, and as quickly 
dies down. 

Pele-mele gabouare. Pell-mell, as merry-makers tumble 
out of a village inn. This word " gabouare," derived 
from the Bas Breton " gabard" is only found in 
this phrase. 

// est coume le pourche du negre, petit et vier. He is 
small and old, like the negro's pig. 

Cope le co, i.e., " coupe le cou," is a common asse- 
veration among children. They pronounce the 

The following 1 are a few local proverbs and sayings which I have met with at different 

times, and which I do not find included in Sir Edgar MacCulloch's collection. 
// est si avare, il ne dounera pouit daeux p'tits aufs pour un gros. He is such a miser 

that he would not give two little eggs for one big one. 

Cottme St. Paterne, tu fe.ras palir le Diable. Like St. Paterne, you would turn the Devil 
pale, said of a man whom nothing will daunt. St. Paterne was one of our local saints, 
who was specially noted for the conversion of the inhabitants of the Forest of Scissy 
the submerged forest which lies off our western coasts. He was induced to do so by a 
pious Seigneur of the Forest, and began his work there by going into a cavern where 
the idolaters were celebrating a great feast presided over by the Devil himself. Armed 
only with his pilgrim's staff he routed them all, Satan included. He was specially 
beloved by birds, who followed him wherever he went. He was made Bishop of 
Avranches, and died in the year A.D. 495. 

La s'matne de treis (trois) Jeudis ou il n' y a pas de Vcndredi. The week of three 
Thursdays and no Friday. This is used when talking of an event which will never 
come off. Then they say " Ca, se fera, etc." 

Haut coumme un beguin. As high as a beacon. The Guernsey " beguins " were tall stacks 
of furze placed on prominent points so that they could be lit in case of an alarm. 

Ecoute-paret (paroi) jamais not dret. He who listens through partitions never hears correctly. 

Faire pertus (troui sous I'iaue. To make a hole in the water, said of a man who is ruining 

/ ' vaut mux pilla'ir fplier) gu' rompre.It is better to bend than break 

// ne faut pas gueruair trap pres des fosiais. One should not plough too close to the hedges. 
Said of people who have no tact and say the wrong things at the wrong times" Dancing 
on the edge of precipices." 

Maujeu au na'ix, signe d'etre guema'i, ou baisi d'un fou. Tickling in the nose shows that you 
will either be worried or kissed by a fool ! 

Daeux petites pauretais en font une grande. Two small paupers make one big one ; said 
when two impecunious people marry each other. 


words, drawing their right hand at the same time 
towards their throat, as if cutting it, and the 
action is meant to imply that they wish their 
throats may be cut if they do not tell the truth, 
or perform what they have promised. 
Vaque (vache) cTun bouan egrun (croixsance) . A cow that 
does credit to her food, and that feeds close. 
Eire d j un bouan egrun is also said of children who 
look fat and healthy. 

In conclusion, we will give a story which is often 
told in the country, as a warning to those who are 
apt to laugh at fools. A half-witted fellow, who 
had gone to the mill with his corn, was asked 
by the miller, who wanted to laugh at him : 
" John, people say that you are a fool and know 

Quand tu vet's la fieille (feuille) a forme 
Prends fa pouque et seme ton orge. 
When you see the leaf on the elm 
Take thy bag and sow thy barley. 

Quand il fait biau, pretid ton manteau, 
Quand il pleut fais coume tu veus. 
When it is fine take your cloak. 
When it rains do as you like. 

Vent perdu, se trouve au sud. 
A lost wind is found in the south. 
(This is a Sark proverb, and was found by the Rev. G. E. Lee in the Rev. Elie Brevint's MSS). 

Hardi des hagues sus fs epines 
D'un rude hiver ch'est le signe. 
Many hips and haws on the trees, 
Is the sign of a severe winter. 

Le dix de Mai des sardes au Gauf richer. 

On the loth of May, sardans (a kind of fish) are to be found at Le Gaufricher a rock north 
of Fermain. 

La ma'ir qui roule au Tas de Pet's 
Ch'est coumme nous verrait de fiaue quee. 

The sea that rolls at the Tas de Pois (the rocks at the end of St. Martin's Point) look to the 
beholder like falling rain. 

" La 2une levanfe 
La ma'ir battante" 
At moon rise 
It is high tide. 
' ' Fin nord et epais sud 
Ne s'entrefont jamais d'abus 
Fin sud et epais nord, 
Ne sont jamais d' accord." 

A fine north and a lowering south, have no occasion to quarrel, but a fine south and lowering 
north, will never agree. The two last " dictons " are from John de Can's, Esq. 

K K 


nothing. Now, tell me what you know and what 
you don't know ? ' "Well ! ' answered John, "I 
know this, that millers have fine horses." " That's 
what you know," said the miller. " Now tell me 
what you don't know." " I don't know on whose 
corn they are fattened," said John. 

From Deny s Corbet. 

Gibbet from which pirates were suspended in the Island of Heim, now in 

possession of H.S.H. Prince Blikher von Wahlstatt, who kindly allowed 

it to be photogiaphed for reproduction in this book. 

Brtl't III. 


' Dear Countrymen, whate'er is left to us 
Of ancient heri-age 
Of manners, speech, of humours, polity, 
The limited horizon of our stage 
Of love, hope, fear, 

All this I fain would fix upon the page: 
That so the coming age, 
Lost in the Empire's mass, 
Yet haply longing for their fathers, here 
May see, as in a glass, 
What they held dear- 
May say, " 'Twas thus and thus 
They lived; and as the time-flood onward rolls, 
Secure an ^anchor for their Celtic souls." 

(Preface to The Doctor and other Poems, by the Kev. T, E. Brown). 

K K 2 


>mt0s attft 

: Will no one tell me what she sings ? 
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow 
For old, unhappy, far-off things, 
And battles long ago." 


Fere les lais, por remembrance." 

Marie of France. 

HAVE added this chapter to Sir Edgar MacCulloch's 
book, as I thought it a good opportunity of preserving 
a few of the old ballads and songs which, for 
generations, amused and interested our forefathers, 
and which now, alas, are all too surely going or gone from 
among us, swept away by the irrepressible tide of vulgarity and 
so-called " Progress," by which everything of ours that was 
beautiful, picturesque, or individual, has been destroyed. As 
descendants of the Celtic trouveres, menestriers, and jongleurs, as 
well as of the Norse Skalds, the bards from whose early songs 
and chants, the literature of Europe has sprung, we, Normans, 
should specially treasure the old poems which have been handed 
down for so many successive ganerations, and which, in the rapid 
extinction of the old language in which Wace, Taillefer, Walter 
Map, and Chrestien de Troyes sang, are doomed to oblivion. 

In most places the old ballads can be divided into two classes 
the Eeligious and the Secular. The first of these classes, except 
in the form of the metrical version of the Psalms by Konsard, 
does not seem to have existed over here. I can find no trace 


of any Noels, or of any Easter songs. The Secular songs may 
be divided into the Historical and the Social. 

The Historical deserve precedence. The Ballade des Aragousais 
of which a translation has already been given, and of which I 
append the original, is by far the oldest and most interesting. 
Then comes a ballad descriptive of the Destruction of the Spanish 
Armada in 1588, which I found in a manuscript book compiled 
by a Job Mauger in 1722. In it he has copied the Dedicace des 
Eglises, and such poems which apparently were current in his 
day, and which he deemed worthy of preservation. Of his collection 
this is the most distinctive, and I have included it in this 
chapter, although it is evidently defective in parts, as these old 
ballads, handed down orally from generation to generation, are so 
apt to be. The Complaint of the dispossessed Eoman Catholic 
Clergy, written in March, 1552, and copied into the Eegisters of 
St. Saviour's parish in 1696 by Henry Blondel, is already in 
print, being included in Gustave Dupont's Histoire du Cotentin et 
de ses lies, Tome III., p. 311-313. 

Job Mauger's MSS. also comprise a long and monotonous ballad 
of twenty verses describing the destruction by lightning of the 
Tower of Castle Cornet in 1688, and various poems, conspicuous 
more by the loyalty of their sentiments than by the merits of 
their versification, on contemporary events in England, such as 
" La mort du Eoy Guillaume III.," written in 1702 ; 
" Cantique Spirituel a la m^moire de la Eoyne Marie lime., et 
sur 1'oiseau qu'on voit sur son Mausol^e ; " " Sur la mort de son 
Altesse Koyale Guillaume, Due de Glocestre, deced6 au Chateau 
de Windsor le 30me Juillet, 1700;" and "Vive le Eoy George," 
written in 1721. He also copies a " Chanson Nouvelle da 
1'Esclavage de Barbaric," doggerel verses " composed par dix 
pauvres hommes, esclaves en Barbaric, ou ils sont," viz. : " Edouard 
Falla, Edouard Mauger, Phelipe le Marquand, Eichard Viel, et ses 
camarades, Pierre le Gros et Jean Aspuine," written in the reign 
of William III. 

In the year 1736 the bells of the church of S. Peter Port, 
being no longer fit for service, were taken down for the purpose 
of being melted and re-cast. This circumstance gave rise to a 
piece of poetry compo&ed by the Eev. Elie Dufresne, Eector of 
the Town parish, of which many manuscript copies are in 


But by far the most popular and widely known of all our local 
ballads is " Les vers de Catherine Deslandes," by an unknown 
author, descriptive of the trial and execution for infanticide, of an 
unhappy woman called Catherine Deslandes. in 1748. These verses 
have been repeatedly copied and printed, and are to be found in 
almost every old farm-house. 

The Secular ballads were undoubtedly all, or nearly all, importa- 
tions from the mainland. Of these I have made a selection, and 
have striven to record those which do not appear to have been 
already printed, or which, like " La Claire Fontaine," vary 
considerably from the continental models. Thus " Malbrouck," 
which is one of the most widely known of all our old ballads, 
appears in every French " Kecueil de Chansons," and the verses 
of " Le Juif Errant" and " Gene vie ve de Brabant" of which 
copies are also found in all our old farm houses, have also been 
repeatedly printed on the Continent, so are not included here. 


" Surprise de 1'Ile de Guernesey 1'an 1370, sous le Regne 
d'Edouard III., Roy d'Angleterre, et de Charles V., Boy de 
France." * 

" Or, grands et petits entendez 

Lai 1 d'allure. 2 fort'ment rim6e, 3 

Sur nombre de gent ramasse'e, 

Qui va sillant 4 la mer salee, 

Du Roy de France la mesgn^e, s 

Par Yvon de Galles guidee, 

Si mauvaisement mis a mort. 6 

Par un Mardy s'est compared 
La gendarmerie et I'arm^e, 


* This poem is copied from a version compiled by Mr. Metivier, and said by him to be the 
revised text of seven mutilated manuscript copies. I have also included most of his notes. 


1. Lai Chant, melodic, complainte. 

2. Allure pas continu, mesure. 

3. Forfment rimeedont la rime est riche, roulante. 

4. Sillant v. fr : fendant, coupant. 

5. Mesgnees\\ern' megnie, maisonnee, troupe. 

$. Aft's a mort assassine par le traitre gallois John Lambe, soudoye par Richard II. 


Faite de grands Aragousais * 
Gens enrages a I'abord^e. 
Dans le Vazon fut addressee 
Cette pilleuse 2 marine'e 
Pensant nous mettre tous a mort. 

Un Jean L'Estocq si se leva, 
Plus matin qu'a 1'accoutume'e ; 
Et a sa bergerie alia, 
Sur 1'ajournant 3 a la brun6e. 
Telle compagnie a trouve'e 
Sur le grand Marais arrdte'e, 
Ce qui grandement l'6tonna. 

Vit un cheval sur son chemin, 
Faisant marche de haquen^e, 4 
Qui, pour vray, e'toit un guildin, 6 
Qui lors 6chappoit de I'arm6e. 
Toute 1'isle en a chevauch6e, 
Criant a la de'sespe're'e, 
Sus ! aux armes, en un moment ! " 

" Et vous trouvez sur les Vazons ! 8 
L'arme'e est dessus arrSte'e ; 
Diligentez-vous, bons gargons, 
Ou toute la terre est gate'e ! 
Mettez tout au fil de I'e'pe'e, 
Hasardez-vous, a bonne heur6e, 
Ou vous mourrez grieve mort ! " 

Yvon de Galles, vrai guerrier, 
Etait conducteur de la guerre, 
Homme grand'ment adventurier, 
Dessus une terre 6trangiere, 
Ne se donnant garde en arriere, 
II regut la rouge jarr'tiere 
Qui n'6toit ni soye, ni velours. 


1. Aragousais Chez les Gascons, nos compatriotes alors, Aragous, espagnol. L'Aragon 
etait le royaume principal. 

2. Pilleuse pirates. 

3. Ajournant v. fr. . ajornant, faire jor ou jour. 

4. Haquenee cheval qui va 1'amble, hobin. 

5. Guildin Anglais gelding. 

6. Les Vazons Marais, tourbieres, aujourd'hui Vazon. II y avait le Vazon d'Albecq et le 
Vazon du Marais, 


C'est qu'il fut frappe 1 d'un gargon 
D'une alebarde 1 meurtriere, 
II se nommoit Eichard Simon 
Sur le moulin, en la Carriere, 
Tant qu'il eut la cuisse hache'e 
Aussi la main dextre tranche'e 
Par ce glorieux compagnon. 

Sur le mont de St. Pierre Port 
Fut la dure guerre livre'e; 
Cinq cents et un fur' mis a mort, 
Tant de 1'isle* que de I'arme'e, s 
C'6toit piti6, cette journ6e 
D'oui'r les pleurs de 1'assemble'e 
Des dames de St. Pierre Port. 

Thoumin le Lorreur, 4 tout le jor 
Fut, de vrai, notre capitaine ; 
Eouf Hollande 5 fut le plus fort, 
II eut 1'honneur de la quintaine, 6 
Sa vie, helas ! fut hasarde'e, 
Car, sa jambe 6tant fracasse'e, 
Force lui fut de souffrir mort. 

Frappant a travers et a tors, 
Le sang courait dans les valises, 
On marchait dessus les corps morts 
Qui ch^aient 7 au fil des e'pe'es. 


1. Alebarde sans aspiration, comme 1'Ital : alabarda. 

2. L'isle les habitants de 1'ile 

3. L'armee la flotte etrangere. 

4. Le Lorreur surnom d'une famille catelaine dont les traces se retrouvent au commence- 
ment du dix-septieme siecle. Le lourreur etait un joueur de cornemuse, Normand lourre, 
Danois luur. C'est tout un alors pour nous autres Anglais, que Thoumin le Lorreur, et 
" Tommy the Piper." 

The first mention of a " Le Lorreur " in the Channel Islands I have found, occurs in the 
Calendar of Patent Rolls for 1316, where Philip L'Evesque, Bailiff of Jersey, witnesses 
(June esth, 1311) a demise by Macie Ls Lorreur, clerk, to Richard le Fessu, his brother, 
Viscount of Jersie, of the escheat of Pierres du Monster, for twelve cabots of wheat rent 
yearly, for three virgates of land in the parish of Grouville. The Richard le Fessu mentioned 
above was also known as Richard de Jersey, he married Elizabeth de Burgo, described as 
the King's kinswoman, and in 1317 the King gave, as a grant for life, to "John de Jereseye " 
his son, the Viscounty of Jersey, which his father had held during his life-time. 

5. Rouf Hollande On August a6th 1338, a warrant was issued against a Richard de Holand, 
who had absconded with 40 delivered to John Godefelawe of Southampton, by John de 
Harleston, for payment of the wages of the garrison of Jersey. (Calendar of Patent Rolls). 

6. Quintaine espece de tournoi. 

7. Cheaient tombatent guern : et norm : queyaient, 


Une meurtriere 1 fut Ianc6e, 
Qui, a grand' force d6band4e, 
Aux Aragousais fit grand tort. 

Quatre-vingt bons marchands anglais 
Arriverent sur 1'avespree ; 2 
A notre secours accouraient, 
Mais 1'armee etant fort lassie, 
Leva le siege, tout de voir, 3 
Ne sachant quel remede avoir, 
Sinon crier a Dieu mercy. 

Furent contraints de s'enfuir 
Prenant leur chemin gaburon, 4 
Par les Bordages sont alles, 
Pour passer dedans ils se rue' ; 
Mais les Anglais sans retenue, 
Eemplissent de corps morts la rue, 
Sur cette troupe de bedots. * 

Par force espreindrent les chatiaus, 6 

La mer etant fort retiree, 

On les tuait a grands monceaux, 

Taillant tout au fil de Tepee ; 

La mer etoit ensanglantee 

De cette troupe ainsi navree, 

De lez la chair et les corps morts. 

Ces navires et ces bateaux 

Ceignirent 1'isle par derriere ; 

Bons paysans leur firent grands tosts, y 

Vers le chateau de la Corbiere, * 

Vindrent par le Bec-a-la-Chievre, 9 

Pour a 1'armee faire estere, 10 

Avec le reste des lourdauds. 


1. Meurtriere Catapulte, machine qui lancait des pierres et des dards. 

2. Avesprees Commencement du soir. 3. Voir Vrai. 

4. Gaburon Ce serait pele-mele, a la manierc de goujats, des manants. Telle serait, osons 
le croire, 1'origine du guernesiais "pele-mele gabouaret." 

5. Bedots etrangers, trompeurs. L'acceptation francaise de bedos, selon Roquefort, fitait 
autrefois " forain.' 1 

6. sfreimtrenfserrerent, assaillirent. Selon les annales du temps, le chftteau ne fut pas pris. 

7. Tosis, pour tastes, soufflets, " good thrashings." 

8. La Corbiere The point underneath ' Village de Putron," just north of Fermain Point, is 
called " La Corbiere," but this line probably refers to the Vale Castle, in the parish of St. 
Michel de 1'Archange du Valle. 

9. Bec-a-la cAt'2vre]\ist underneath Fort George, the southern boundary of Petit Fort Bay, 
|o. Estire passage. 


Kembarquerent leurs matelots, i 
Puis soudain mirent a la vele, 
Tous marris comme lionceaux 
D'avoir perdu telle bredelle. 1 
Le g6n6ral s fort ce repelle, 4 
Commandant de remettre a terre 
Dans le havre de St. Samson. 

A l'Abb6 St. Michel s'en vont, 
Dont Brecard e'toit commissaire ; 
II les re9ut, a grand coeur-jouaie 
Donnant presents et fort grand chere 
Donnant or a la gente am6e, * 
Qui 6tait dame dans Farmed 
Nomm6e Princesse Alinor. 

Car Yvon 1'avoit epousee 
En France au pays de Gravelle, 
Dont il fut riche a grands monceis 8 
Des biens de la grand' maride. 
L'abb6 fit grand joie a I'arm^e 
D'or et d'argent et de monnoye 
Qu'il leur donna bien largement. 

Yvon, 1'ennemy, s'en alia 
Sur une montagne voisine 
Du pauvre Chateau St. Michel, 
La oil Yvon faisait ses mines. 7 
Frere Brecart, 8 par courtoisie 
S'adresse au chateau par envie 
De faire cr6itre ses tr^sors. 


1. Matelots camarades, guern : matnots, mot franc-tudesque. Ici ce n'est ;pas un raarinier 
exclusivement, c'est un mess-mate. 

2. Bredelle morceau. 

3. General 1'Amiral, celui qui commando la g/merale, angl : flag-ship. 

4. Repelle rejette, oppose. 

5. Gente amze gentille amir. 

6. Monceis monceaux. 

;. Mines Semblant de vouloir assaillir le Chateau (de Neel de St. Sauveur, aujourd'hui 
Chateau des Marais ou Ivy Castle}. 

8. Brecart The Brecarts, Bregearts, or Briards, were a comparatively influential family in 
the parishes of the Vale and St. Sampson's up to the sixteenth century ; they then bought 
land in the town, in the district of Vauvert, and became known as " Bregart alias Vauvert," 
and finally as " Vauvert," pur et simple, they seem to have become extinct in the eighteenth 


Mais Aymon 2 Eose, retranche 

Au puissant Chasteau de 1'Archange 

Dit qu'il serait avant tranche. 

Que de se rendre a gent estrange ; 

Mais si ses gens se veulent rendre 

A Brecart, pour leur terre vendre, 

Par compos, 1 il estoit d'accord. 

Le pauvre peuple se rendit 

A cet Abbe pour leur grand perte 

Qu'il avoit pour eux accord^ 

Aux ennemis par ses finesses 

Dont aesoujettirent leurs terres 

La plupart a payer deux gerbes 

Nommez aujourd'hui les champarts.* 

Quand Yvon fut bien soudoye 
S'est rembarque dans ses navires 
Dans le Coquet s'en est al!6 
Se refournir de nouveaux vivres, 
En passant par devant Belle Isle 
Mit le feu dans trente navires 
N'ayant que les garons a bord. 

Le vent du sud etant venu 
Sillant la cote de Bretagne 

* Here Mr. Metivier's version ends, the remainder is from an old Guernsey Almanac dated 1828. 


1. Combos Composition. 

2. Ayman Rose "Edmund de Ros ou Rous " etait d'origine Normande. 

" It appears that Edmund Rose, who defended Castle Cornet on this occasion was only Lieut. - 
Governor, as, in the previous year, Walter Huvvet appears as governor of all the islands. There 
is a letter from the King to Edmund Rose, dated the i-jth of August, 1372, as Constable of the 
Castle of Gorey in Jersey ; so that within two months after Yvon had raised this siege of 
Castle Cornet, he, Edmund Rose, must have been sent to that of Gorey." (Some Remarks on 
the Constitution of Gueinsey, by T. F. de H., p. 119.) 

Champarts The "Camparis" or the eleventh part of the grain grown upon the land of 
the fief, is described by Warburton thus : " The first dukes of Normandy granted several 
parcels of land in the island, to such as had served them in their wars, and granted likewise 
a very considerable part to some religious houses. These, whether soldiers or churchmen, not 
being themselves skilled in agriculture, let out these lands to tenants under them, reserving 
such rents and services as they thought most convenient ; such was the " Campart," and 
such were the " chef-rentes," and these have been in use ever since Richard I., duke of 
Normandy, and possibly they may yet be of more ancient date. ... In the Clos du Valle, 
out of extraordinary respect for the Abbot who resided amonij them, they paid both the 
tenth and the eleventh sheaf, both as tithe and campart." Camparis were owed on many 
fiefs, if not on all. Alany owners of land have redeemed them. Others have affranchis their 
land, which is done by Act of Court, on proof that the land has been under grass for forty years, 
and lasts as long as the land is tilled yearly. 


Un navire Anglois est venu 
Dont ils eurrent bien de la hoigne 1 
Saillit soixante hommes ensemble 
A bord Yvon, sans plus attendre 
Qui les lierent tous a bord. 

Puis violerent Alinor, 
En la presence de son homme 
Lui etant lie au grand mat 
Les amenerent a Hantonne 2 
Yvon 6tant un mauvais homme 
Eut sur sa t6te une couronne 
Savoir ung mourion tout chaud. 

Puis pendirent toutes ces gens 

Portez & chartez 3 couple & couple 

Et Alinor eut un present 

Pour gueuser une belle poche 

Et avec peines et travaux 

Cherchant son pain de porte en porte 

Apres plaisir eurent grands maux. 

Les dix-neuf autres vaisseaux 
Voulez-vous oui'yr leur destined 
Ils se dissout de grands chateaux 
De tourments bien agitt6e 
Or voila done leur destined 
C'est qu'ils burent la mer salee 
Brisant dessus les Hanouets. 

Au matin coume des porceaux 

Estoient au plein cette journ^e 

OA ils avaient fait leurs grands maux 

En Guernesey la bienheureuse 

Ils estoient 1& en grands monceaux 

Dessus les sablons de Eocquaine 

Apres plaisir eurent grands maux. 



1. tfotgne'Ka.ine. 

2. Hantonne Southampton. 

3. A cAar/ezEo charrettes. 


Puissant Eoy d'Espagne, 
Combien riche tu es 
Pour 1'entreprise vaine 
Que tu fis sur les Anglois, 
Ton entreprise vaine, 
Fut bientot rebrousse'e. * 

Vindrent sur 1'Angleterre, 
Au beau mois de Juillet, 
Pour voir la bienheureuse 
Ma Dame Elizabeth, 
Mais ce fut a leur honte 
Que sentir grand reveil. 

La grande Arm6e Angloise 
Commence a s'appr^ter, 
Tous leurs soldats embarqu6s 
La poudre et les bullets, 
C'est pour joiier au quille 2 
Avec les Portugu6es. 

Qui eust vue I'arme'e, 

D 'Elizabeth s'en va 

De voir les grands bigots 3 

Et flaque'es 4 sur leurs mats 

Des tambours et trompettes 

Appret^s au combat. 

La puissante avans garde 
A 1'ancre n'e'toit pas 
Comme fut " La Kevanche" 
La vaisseau de Dras * 
Qui sortoit de Plymouth, 
Sillant sur sa plumas.* 


1. Rebrousser Retourner sur ses pas. 

2. Quille " C'est un morceaux de bois tourne, plus gros par le bas que par le haut, dont 
on se sert pour jouer." 

The English captains were playing bowls when the Spanish ships were announced as being 
in sight. 

3. Bigots Terme de Marine. C'est une petite piece de bois percee de deux ou trois trous, 
par oii Ton passe le batard pour la composition de racage. 

4. Flagner Jetter. 

5. Sir Francis Drake commanded the ship Revenge during the fight with the Armada. 

6. Plumas Plumage. 


Tous les plus grands navires 

Qui furent haut et has 

De toute 1'Angleterre 

Vindrent vers 1'Amiral 

Luy supplier la grace 

D'aller sur les guayhards (sic). 

L'Amiral d'Angleterre ' 

Leur r6pond d'un voix quas 2 

Enfans, donnez vous garde 

Me vous hasardez pas, 

Car I'arm6e est puissante 

Et nos vaisseaux sont trop ras. 3 

Ces gens de grand courage, 
Disoient a 1'Amiral 
Seigneur, gardez la terre, 
Nous allons avec Dras 4 
Nous aurons la vengeance 
De I'arm^e des Pillards. 

La " Eevanche " d'Angleterre 
Sous ses voiles s'en va, 
Chargeans ses coulverines 
Et tirans ses coutelas, 
Au grand tyran s'entraine 
Et luy couppa ses mats. 

Quand le Due de Mydine, 
Sit ses grands arbres has, 
Dit a sa compagnie 
Enfans ne tirez pas, 
Mais rondez les navires, 
Ou vous mourrez tous plats. 2 


1. L'Amiral tTAnglefeweLoiA. Howard of Effinghara. 

2. Quas Brise. 

Ras Terme de Mer. C'est un bailment qui n'a ni pont, ni tillac, ni couverture. 

4. Dras Drake. Motley, in his History of the Netherlands, Vol. II., p.p. 498-9, says : There 
were many quarrels among the English admirals at this period, and much jealousy of Drake. 

5. Due de Mydine The Duke of Medina-Sidonia, leader of the Spanish Armada, who, when 
the great hulk Satana and a galleon of Portugal were attacked by the Triumph and some other 
vessels, on the flag-ship, (the St. Martin} tried to repel Lord Howard on the Ark Roval and other 
men-of-war, and thence arose the hottest conflict of the day. He had previously, when Don 
Pedro de Valdez, commander of the Andelusian squadron, having got his foremast carried away 
close to the deck, lay crippled and helpless, calmly fired a gun to collect his scattered ships, 
and abandoned Valdez to his fate. . . . The next day Valdez surrendered to the Rcrenge. 
Motley's Netherlands, Vol. II., pp. 456-7. 


Sept navires de guerre, 
Lierent au grand " Arc " 
Abordent cette vermine 
Sur le " Satanas " 
Pour porter pillage 
Avec le Seigneur Dras. 

Un noble gentil homme 
Grand Seigneur des Estats 
S'en va rompant les coffres 
Et bahuts * hauts et bas, 
Oi il trouva des lettres 
D'un fort merveilleux cas. 2 

Le grand Dauphin de Naples 3 

De ga ne ryoit pas, 

Le Flamen se presente 

Sur un de ses boulevards 

De cette nef horrible, 3 

Du grand " St. Matthias." * 

S'informe par enquete 
Des gens d'armes en bas 
Touchant une lettre 
Quy portoit de grand mal 
En centre 1'Angleterre 
Et tout le sang Eoyal. 

Le peuple luy d6claroit 
Seigneur ne fachez pas 
Que 1'adresse de 9a 
C'est au Prince Farn6se 5 
De par le Eoy d'Espagne 
Qui de 9a charsera. 


I. Bahut Coffre couvert de cuir orne de petits clous. 
z. Cas Terme de Pratique, Matiere, Crime. 

3. Nef Navire. 

4. Le Grand Dauphin, etc. Don Diego de Pionental, nephew of the Viceroy of Sicily, and 
uncle to the Viceroy of Naples, was captured in his ship the St. Matthew, by Admiral Van 
der Does, of the Holland fleet. Motley, Vol. II., p. 473. 

5. Alexander, Prince Farnese, and Duke of Parma, was commandant of the Spanish Army, 
and was waiting in Flanders for an opportunity of co-operating with the Spanish fleet. He 
was suspected of having a secret treaty with Queen Elizabeth, (Motley, Vol. II., p. 273-4), 
but these verses are so very obscure, it is impossible to identify the incidents to which they 
allude. It may be that they, as well as the last verse of this poem are interpolations from 
some other ballad, which has got confused with this one. 


Demands au grand de Naples 

Ce qu'il disoit de cela 

Encontre sa maltresse 

Quoi penser en tel cas. 

En disant deux cu trois paroles, 

Le grand Prince le tua. 

Puis luy fendit le ventre, 
Jusqu'a 1'estomac, 
Son pauvre coeur luy tira 
Qui soudain luy trancha 
Devant la compagnie 
Qui beaucoup soupira. 

Lors 1'Amiral d'Espagne 
Soudain apparreilla 
Avec sa compagnie 
A vau la mer s'en va 
Mettant basse enseigne 
Par grand deuil s'en va. 

Sortant vers Irlande 
Sous tout leur appareil 
Sur la haute mi-ete 1 
Le vent leur prend su-est 
Qui les mis sur la terre 
D' Irlande et y reste. 

Les prudens Irlandois 
A leurs secours venoient 
En plaignant leurs miseres 
Aux maisons les portaient 
Faisant au grands d'Espagne 
Plus qu'ils ne meritoient. 

Le 6n6ral d'Espagne 
Ses mourtres fits dresser, 
Appeller ses gens d'armes 
Et tous ses centeniers, 
Fit en grand' diligence 
Sa grande troupe marcher. 

I. Mi-ete -le milieu de 1'ete. 

L L 


Au peuple d'Irlande, 
Eendit tous ses bienfaits, 
Mit par toute la terre 
Gens d'armes en harnois, ' 
Tuant homme et femme 
Sans merci ni delai. 

Tous les Irlandois s'adressoient 

Au Comte de Tyrone 

Qui tenoit pour la Eeine 

Centre la nation, 

Luy priant donner aide 

Centre les Castillons. 

Le Comte met en ordre 
Ses princes et barons, 
Tous au fil de Tepee* 
Leur ordonner la fronde, 3 
La douleur redoublee 
Qui les deconfit tous. 

Lors voila la ruine 
Des meurtriers Espagnols 
Qui faisoient tant de mines 
Dans de bien grands flibots, 4 
Pensant prendre Angleterre 
Comme de fols idiots. 

A Dieu soit la louange 
Qui de son bras tout fort, 
De tous leurs grands vaisseaux 
De nous pris la revanche 
Nous pensant detruire 
Et demembrer nos corps. 

Les braves gens d'Espagne 
Partant de leurs maisons 
Pensant en Angleterre 

1. Harnois. signifie I'habillement d'un horamc d'armes. 

2. Fil de fepee est en usage depuis long terns. Ronsard a dit parlant de Henri III. 
" devant le fil de son epee." 

3. Fronder Attaquer quelque chose. 

4. Flibot Terme de marine. C'est un moien vaisseau qui est arme en course. 


Sarcler 1 tous les chardons, 
Mais leurs gens et leurs moufles 
N'6toient pas assez bons. 

Quand on va par les villes 
Pour vendre les moutons, 
Chacun se donne a croire 
Que les viandes vaudront 
Mais c'est bien le contraire 
La plupart en donneront. 3 



J'ai cueilli la belle rose 
Qui pendait au rosier blanc, 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc ! 

Je la cueillis feuille a feuille 

Et la mis dans mon tablier blanc 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc. 

Je 1'ai portee chez mon pere 
Entre Paris et Eouen 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc. 

1. Sarcler Terme de Laboureur. Couper les mechanics herbes avec le sarcloir. 

2. Moufles Garnie de poulies de cuivre, de boulons, et de cordages pour monter les pieces 
d'artillerie a 1'elesoir. 

3. That this poem is very defective, and therefore obscure, is obvious, but I thought even 
this mutilated fragment was worth preserving. Many of the statements made in it are not 
borne out by history, though they probably formed part of the gossip of that day, and had 
filtered over to the Islands from sailors who had themselves had a share in some of the 
events narrated. This last verse ceems to have no connection with the rest of the poem, but 
I have copied it as Job Mauger wrote it, nearly two centuries ago. 

L L 2 


Las ! je n'ai trouv6 personne 
Que le rossignol chantant 

Belle Rose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc. 

Qui me dit dans son langage 
Mariez vous a quinze ans 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc ! 

Helas comment me marlrai-je ? 
Moi qui suis baisse* pour un an, 

Belle Eose, 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc ! 

Combien gagnez vous, la belle ? 
Combien gagnez vous par an? 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc ! 

Je gagne bien cent pistoles 
Cent pistoles en argent blanc 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc. 

Venez avec moi, ma belle, 
Vous en aurez bien autant 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc. 

Je ne vais avec personne 
Si Ton ne m'epouse avant 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc. 

Si Ton ne me mene a l'6glise 
Par devant tous mes parents 

Belle Eose 
Belle Eose au rosier blanc ! f 

* liaisse servant girl. 

+ There are many versions of this song to be found among the country people, I have 
compared this with fiv or six others, and it is, I think, the most generally received. 


A la claire fontaine 
Dondaine, ma dondaine 
Les mains me suis Iav6 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Les mains me suis Iav6, 
Dondaine m'a dond6. 

A la feuille d'un ch6ne 
Dondaine, ma dondaine 
Je les ai essuy^es 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Je les ai essuy^es 
Dondaine m'a donde\ 

A la plus haute branche 
Dondaine, ma dondaine 
Un rossignol chantait 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Un rossignol chantait 
Dondaine m'a dond6. 

Chante, rossignol, chante 
Dondaine, ma dondaine, 
Toi qui as le coeur gai 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Toi qui as le coeur gai 
Dondaine m'a donde. 

Le mien n'est pas de meme 
Dondaine, ma dondaine, 
II est bien afflig6 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
II est bien afflig6 
Dondaine m'a dond6. 

Pierre, mon ami Pierre, 
Dondaine, ma dondaine, 
A la guerre est al!6 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
A la guerre est alle 
Dondaine m'a donde 1 . 


Pour un bouton de rose 
Dondaine, ma dondaine 
Que je lui refusal 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Que je lui refusai 
Dondaine m'a dond6. 

Je voudrais que la rose 
Dondaine, ma dondaine 
Fut encore au rosier 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Fut encore au rosier 
Dondaine m'a dond6. 

Et que mon ami Pierre 
Dondaine, ma dondaine 
Fut ici a m'aimer 
Dondaine ma lou-lou-la 
Fut ici a m'aimer 
Dondaine m'a, dond6. 


Qui veut ou'ir, qui veut savoir } , . 
Comment les maris aiment ? ) 
Us aiment si brutalement 
Us sont de si brutales gens, 
Qu'on les entend toujours disant 
(Parle) " Ah Madame allez gardez 
Le menage et les enfants ! " 

Qui veut oulr, qui veut savoir } , . 
Comment les filles aiment? ' 
Elles aiment si discretement 
Elles sont de si discretes gens, 
Qu'on les entend toujours disant 
(Parle) " Ah Monsieur ne parlez pas si haut 
Car Maman nous entendra." 

Qui veut oulr, qui veut savoir J , . 
Comment les veuves aiment ? ' 
Elles aiment si sensiblement 


Elles sont de si sensibles gens, 
Qu'on les entend toujours disant 
(Parle) "Ah! le beau jeune homme ! 
Comme il ressemble a feu mon mari." 

Qui veut oulr, qui veut savoir j , . 
Comment les soldats aiment? ) 
Us aiment si cavalierement 
11s sont de si cavaliers gens 
Qu'on les entend toujours disant 
(Parl6) " Ah ! Madame m'aimez vous ? 
Ne m'aimez vous pas? dictes moi, 
Car il me faut rejoindre mon regiment." 

Qui veut oulr, qui veut savoir ) , . 
Comment les Frangais aiment? ' 
Us aiment si frivolement 
Us sont de si frivoles gens, 
Qu'on les entend toujours disant 
(Parl6) " Ah ! Madame depuis que je vous ai vue 
Je ne songe qu'a vous ! " 

Qui veut oulr, qui veut savoir j , . 
Comment les Anglais aiment. j 
Us aiment si stupidement 
Us sont si stupides gens 
Qu'on les entend toujours disant 
(Parl6) " Tan tot la chasse, tantot la 
Gazette, tantot 1'amour ! " ! 

Qui veut ou'ir, qui veut savoir ), . 
Comment les Guernesiais aiment' 
Us aiment si prudemment, 
Us sont de si prudents gens 
Qu'on les entends toujours disant 
(Parle) "Mademoiselle a-t'elle del'argent!" 

I have to thank Mr. J. T. R. de Havilland, of Havilland Hall, for kindly supplying me with 
a copy of this sop. 



Marguerite s'est assise Tra-la-la. 
A 1'ombre d'un rocher 
A son plaisir dcoute Tra-la-la 
Les mariniers chanter, 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 

Elle fit un' rencontre Tra-la-la 
De trente matelots 
Le plus jeune des trente Tra-la-la. 
II se mit a chanter. 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 

Qu'avez vous la belle Tra-la-la. 
Qu'avez vous a pleurer? 
Je pleure mon anneau d'or Tra-la-la. 
Qui dans la mer est tombe 1 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 

Que donnerez-vous la belle Tra-la-la 
A qui le pecherait ? 
Un baiser sur la bouche Tra-la-la. 
Ou deux s'il fallait 

Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 

Le galant se de'pouille Tra-la-la. 
Dans la mer a plonge 1 
La premiere fois qu'il plonge Tra-la-la 
II n'en a rien apportS 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 

La seconde fois qu'il plonge Tra-la-la 
Les cloches vont ric-tin-te 1 
La troisieme fois qu'il plonge Tra-la-la. 
Le galant s'est noye 1 ! 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 

Nous 1'ferons enterrer Tra-la-la 
Et puis dessus sa tombe 
Un rosmarin planter Tra-la-la. 
Sur ce pauvre jeune homme ! 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 


Nous dirons a sa mere Tra-la-la 
Qu'il s'est embarque 1 
Sur un vaisseau de guerre Tra-la-la. 
Qui de loin est alle 1 ! 
Tra-la-la. Tra-la-la. 


Je vais 6pouser la Meuniere 

Dont on voit le moulin 1& has 

Mais j'aime une pauvre bergere 

Comprenez-vous mon embarras, 

Ma Fanchette est si jolie 

Mais la Meuniere a du bien 

S'il faut faire une folie 

Que cela ne soit pas pour rien. 

Bah ! j'e'pouserai la Meuniere 

Qui me fait toujours les yeux doux 

En me disant " Beau petit Pierre 

Mais quand done nous marierons nous ? " 

Uninstant n'allons pas si vite, 

Suis je bien certain d'etre heureux 

Avec la femme du moulin 

Dont je ne suis pas amoureux ? 

II s'agit de mariage 

C'est helas ! pour plus d'un jour, 

Oui ! mais pour vivre en manage 

C'est bien maigre de 1'amour ! 

Bah ! j'e'pouserai la Meuniere 

Qui me fait toujours les yeux doux 

En me disant " Beau petit Pierre 

Mais quand done nous marierons nous ? " 

Cependant mon coeur s'inquiete 
Et me dit que c'est mal a moi 
De trahir la pauvre Fanchette 
A qui j 'avals donn6 ma foi 
Elle est si tendre et si bonne 
Com me son coeur va souffrir. 
He'las ! si je 1'abandonne 
Elle est capable d'en mourir 


Ma foi ! tant pis pour la Meuniere, 
Je ne serai pas son 6poux 
Qu'elle dise "Beau petit Pierre! 
Petit Pierre n'est pas pour vous ? " 


Sur nos grands bles d6j& le soleil brille 
Quels lourds 6pis en fut il de pareils ! 
Va ! travaillons, vite, en main la faucille 
Mais suivrez vous, suivrez vous mes conseils. 


Enfant, de chaque gerbe 
Que murit le Seigneur 
Laissez tomber dans 1'herbe 
Quelques 6pis pour ie glaneur 
Pensez au pauvre glaneur | 

Faites le bien vous porterez bonheur ( 

Notre ministre dit que le bien qu'on donne 
Est lejneilleur qu'on pense r^colter 
II depose lorsqu'il disait aux hommes. 
Donner aux pauvres, a Dieu n'est que preter. 
Chorus. Enfant, etc. 

Aux pauvres 19! le peu qu'on abandonne 
Dieu pour beaucoup ailleurs le comptera 
Des grains donn6s, la moisson sera bonne 
Pour nous au Ciel, Dieu les centuplera." 
Chorus. Enfant, etc. 


Trois jeunes tambours, revenant de la guerre, 
Le plus jeune des trois avait un bouquet de roses 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 

La fille du roi 6tant par sa fenetre 

" Ah ! jeune tambour, veux tu me donner tes roses ? " 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 

" Mes roses sont pour mon mariage 

La fille du roi, veux tu etre ma femme ? " 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 


" Va jeune tambour, demander a mon pere" 

" Sire le Eoi, veux tu me donner ta fille ? " 

Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 

" Ah ! jeune tambour dis moi qu'est tes richesses ? " 
" Mes richesses sont mes caisses i et mes balletes,2 " 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 

" Va ! jeune tambour, demain je te ferai pendre " 
" Six cent mille canons dans ce cas vont me d6fendre " 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan plan. 

" Ah ! jeune tambour, dis moi qui est ton pere ? " 
" Mon pere il est le roi le roi d'Angleterre ! " 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 

" Ah ! jeune tambour, voudrais tu bien ma fille ? " 
" Ah ! je m'en moque de vous et de votre fille, 
Dans mon pays y' en a de bien plus gentilles." 
Au ron-ron-ron-te-tan-plan. 


Si j'avais le chapeau 

Que ma mie m'avait donue" 

Mon chapeau est bel et beau 


Adieu ma mignonne 
Adieu done mes amours 

Si j'avais la casaque 3 
Que ma mie m'avait donn6 
Ma casaque est zic et zac 
Mon chapeau est bel et beau. 

Chorus. Adieu, etc. 

Si j'avais le corselet 

Que ma mie m'avait donn6 

Mon corselet est fort bien fait 

i. Caisses Coffres. 2. Ballettei Petites Valises. 

3. Casaque " Habilleracnt qui est plus large qu'un juste-au-corps ct qui se porte sur le? 
cpaules en forme de manteau." Richelet. 


Ma casaque est zic et zac, 
Mon chapeau est bel et beau 

Chorus. Adieu, etc. 

Si j'avais la cravate 
Que ma mie m'avait donn^e 
Ma cravate est ric et rac 
Mon corselet est fort bien fait 
Ma casaque est zic et zac 
Mon chapeau est bel et beau. 

Chorus. Adieu, etc. 

Si j'avais la culotte 
Que ma mie m'avait donnee 
Mes culottes debotes ' et botes, 
Ma cravate est ric et rac, 
Mon corselet est fort bien fait 
Ma casaque est zic et zac, 
Mon chapeau est bel et beau. 

Chorus. Adieu, etc. 

Si j'avais les blancs has 
Que ma mie m'avait donnes 
Mes blancs bas sont de damas, 
Mes culottes demotes et botes, 
Ma cravate est ric et rac 
Mon corselet est fort bien fait, 
Ma casaque est zic et zac, 
Mon chapeau est bel est beau. 

Chorus. Adieu, etc. 

Si j'avais les souliers 
Que ma mie m'avait donnes 
Mes souliers sont de cuir doux, 
Mes blancs bas sont de damas, 
Mes culottes debotes et botes, 
Ma cravate est ric et rac, 
Mon corselet est fort bien fait, 
Ma casaque est zic et zac, 
Et mon chapeau est bel et beau. 
Chorus. Adieu, etc. 

I. D/totesTirer les botes de quelqu'un. 



Venez peuple fidele pour entendre chanter 
Un jeune militaire qui revient de la guerre, 
Qui revient de la guerre, muni de son conge 
En entrant dans son isle sa soeur 1'a rencontre. 

La soeur avec tendresse, de la joie qu'elle avait 
Vint embrasser son frere, et lui donner des baisers 
Le frere avec tendresse dit a sa chere sceur 
Ne m'y fais pas connaltre, garde cela dans ton cceur. 

Et le jeun' militaire tout de suite est alle. 
Chercher son pere et mere, en gardant son secret, 
Bonjour Monsieur et Dame aurez vous chambre a louer 
A un jeune militaire de la guerre retourne. 

Ah oui ! notre bon jeune homme, nous avons logement, 
Sur le lit de notre fils, nous te ferons coucher 
Les affaires de la guerre, tu nous raconteras 
Le soir a la table, apres avoir soupe. 

II donne a la dame son argent a garder, 
Tenez ma tres-chere dame, gardez moi cet argent, 
O'est pour soulager les peines de mes parents, 
Et la mechante femme de la s'en est allee. 

Trouver son mari, lui dire, " C'est urie fortune 
Faut le tuer de suite, nous aurons son argent." 
Les deux mechants armes des gros couteaux 
Ont traine dans la cave son corps tout sanglant. 

Le lendemain matin la pauvre fille arrive, 

Ah ! bon jour pere et mere, je voudrais bien parler 

A ce beau jeune militaire, 

Que je vous ai amen6. 

La mechante mere, lui repond hardiment, 
Mais que dis tu ma fille ? Est ce de nos parents ? 
Ah ! oui, ma tres chere mere, c'est mon frere arriv6, 
II revint de la guerre, mon coeur en est content. 

La crueile mere, si tot elle ecria 

J'ai 6gorge ton frere, helas ! n'en parle pas. 

Mais la fille tout de suite les fit etre emmenes 

Devant les justiciers, helas ! pour etre juges. 


Les justiciers s'empressent de juger le proces 

Et les condamnent, tous les deux d'etre brules 

Oh vous peres et meres oyez ces malheurs 

Que les biens de ce monde ne vous tiennent point au cceurs. 

Par la barbarie et Pambition d'argent, 

Ces deux dans les flammes passent leurs derniers moments.* 


Jean, gros Jean, marie sa fille, 
Grosse et grasse et bien habile, 
A un marchand de sabots, 
Eadinguette et radingot 


A un marchand de sabots 
Eadinguette et radingot. 

Pour diner ils eurent des peis 
Entre quatre ils n'eurent que treis 
Ah I devinez si c'est trop 
Eadinguette et radingot. 
Chorus. A un, etc. 

Pour souper ils eurent des prunes 
Entre quatre ils n'en eurent qu'une 
Et la quervaie d : un escargot 
Eadinguette et radingot. 
Chorus. A un, etc. 

Ils firent faire une couachette 
De deux sees buts de buchette 
Et 1'oreiller d'un fagot 
Eadinguette et radingot 
Chorus. A un, etc. 

Ils firent faire des courtines 
Creyant que c'etait mousselme 

* This legend, which is found with slight variations in the Folk-Lore of almost 
every European nation, seems to be deeply impressed on the older St. Martinais, in fact 
some say that the two rocks between Moulin Huet and Saints' Bays, which look like two 
kneeling figures, are the petrified forms of the man 'and the woman, condemned there to 
kneel and expiate their crime till the end of the world. 


Mais c'e'tait Calaminco 
Kadinguette et radingot. 
Chorus. A un, etc. * 


I have concluded this chapter of Guernsey songs with this one, 
though it is of an entirely different style and class to any of the 
others, but the tune to which it is set, is said to be the national 
air of Guernsey. 

When the Duke of Gloucester landed here on the 18th of 
September, 1817, this song, as the Guernsey National Air was 
struck up by the band which came to meet him ; the militia- 
men, knowing the song, all burst out laughing, much to the 
astonishment of the Duke and his suite ! 

-it f 

Jean, gros Juan, ma- rie sa fille, Grosse et grasse et bien ha- bile, A un marchaud de sa-bots, 

m . m m 


Radinguette et ra- din -got; A un marchand do sa-bots, Ba-dinguette et ra- din- got. 

* From Mrs. Kinnersly, to whom I am also indebted for the music. 


]HB " Clameur de Haro," abolished in Normandy, 
A.D., 1583, is, perhaps, the most ancient and curious 
legal survival in the Channel Islands. 

Should a Channel Islander consider his estate to be 
injured, or his rights to be infringed, by the action of another, 
in the presence of two witnesses he kneels on the ground and 
says : 

" Haro ! Haro ! Haro ! a 1'aide mon Prince ! on me fait tort ! " 
and he then repeats the Lord's Prayer in French. 

This formula, which is tantamount to an injunction to stay 
proceedings, causes all obnoxious practices to be suspended until 
the case has been tried in Court, when the party who is 
found to be in the wrong is condemned to a fine and a 
" Eegard de Chateau," which, in former times, meant a night's 
imprisonment. All " Clameurs," according to an ordonnance of 
October 1st, 1599, have to be registered at the Greffe within 
twenty-four hours, on penalty of being " convict en sa clameur," 
and, should no proceedings be taken within a year of the clameur, 
it is considered to have lapsed. 

An order of Queen Elizabeth relative to Guernsey, given at 
Eichmond, October 9th, 1580, decides that " yt shall not be lawfull 
to appeale in anie cause criminell, or of correction, nor from the 
execution of anie order taken in their Courte of Chief Pleas, nor 
in cries of Haro." f 

* It has been suggested that the Clameur de Haro should be included among the civic 
customs peculiar to the Channel Islands. (See p.p. 59-77), so, as Sir Edgar MacCulloch had not 
mentioned it in his MSS. I have ventured to include a short description of it in the Appendix. 

t Livres des Jugements, etc., Vol. II., p. 16, (transcribed from British Museum, 
Lansdowne MSS., No. 155, fol. 426). 


One of the most important occasions on which this prerogative 
was used happened in the year 1850, when it was in contempla- 
tion to demolish the ancient fortifications of Castle Cornet, but 
the late Mr. Martin F. Tapper, who was then on a visit to 
Guernsey, had recourse to this form of appeal, and saved the 
oldest parts of the fortress from demolition. An extraordinary 
instance of a " Clameur " took place in the Church of Sark on 
the 14th of December, 1755. A great dispute had arisen between 
Dame Elizabeth Etienne, widow of Mr. Daniel Le Pelley, Seigneur 
of Sark, and the ecclesiastical authorities of Guernsey, as to in 
whose gift was the living of the Church of Sark. She appointed 
a Mr. Jean Fevot to the Church, and when Mr. Pierre Levrier, 
who had been appointed by the Dean of Guernsey to this post, 
arrived in Sark to perform the service, he found Mr. F6vot in 
the pulpit. He then and there, in the words of various scandalized 
eye-witnesses, " interjetta une Clameur de Haro, environ les deux 
heures d'apres-midi, dans le terns qu'il avoit commence a lire le 
service Divin." * This of course led to many disputes, and for 
over a year Dame Le Pelley locked up the Church of Sark, and 
allowed no one to enter it. Finally, after much litigation, and 
threats of major excommunication from the Guernsey Ecclesiastical 
Court, the Bishop of Winchester intervened; Pierre Levrier was 
forcibly ejected from the island, and, in 1757, Mr. Cayeux 
Deschamps was given the living. 

Four cases of " Clameurs " were registered between the years 
1880-90, and an instance occurred as recently as 1902. 

There has been much controversy as to the origin of the word 
" Haro." Terrien, (Coutftme de Normandie, Edition 1684, p. 104), 
ascribes it to Eollo, Duke of Normandy, Ha-Eo, and says " La seule 
prononciation de son nom, meme apres tant de siecles a cette 
vertu, qu'elle engage ceux contre lesquels on s'en sert a cesser 
leurs entreprises et atenter rien au-de-la." Laurence .Carey, in 
his essay on the Laws and Customs of the Island, and all the 
other old writers say likewise, but modern philologists, such as 
Le H^richer and George Metivier have disputed this theory, and 
have resolved the word "Haro" into a " cri de charge," which 
has survived as such in the English " Hurrah." Froissart employs 
it frequently as the sound of combat : " Le Haro commenga a 

* From Colonel Ernest Le Pelley's MSS. 

M M 



monter," and, in the description of the battle of Bouvines, won 
from the Germans . and English in 1214, by Guillaume Guiart, 
who died in 1306 we find : 

" La vois de nuls n'i est oi'e 

Fors des heraux qui harou orient, 

Et par le champ se crucefient 

Harou, dient-ils, quel mortaille ! 

Quelle occision ! quelle bataille ! " * 

* See Dictionnaire Franco-Normand, by G. Metivier, p. 280. 




T " Les Mourains " we have seen that the ghost was 
" laid " by the means of the clergy of the parish, (see 
page 288) and it is evident by the following stories 
that the laying of spirits frequently formed part of 
the duties of the clergy in Guernsey in the last century. 

The house Colonel Le Pelley now inhabits at St. Peter-in-the- 
Wood, was formerly owned by an old Mr. Blondel, who, on his 
death bed, gave instructions to Mr. Thomas Brock (then Eector of the 
parish and grandfather of the present Eector, Mr. H. Walter Brock), 
to toll the big bell to announce his decease. 

This was not done, but Mr. Blondel's spirit determined to show 
that promises to the dying were not to be trifled with ! All the 
parish of St. Pierre-du-Bois were ready to affirm that the ghost 
was to be seen climbing up the Church tower ; and in the Kectory 
kitchen the china on the dresser would make a clattering noise 
and finally be swept by the unseen hands on to the floor. 

Life at the Rectory became so unendurable under these circum- 
stances that Mr. Brock finally decided to "lay" the ghost, and 
confine it to its own house. So he went to " Prospect Place," as 
the house is now called, with twelve others of the local clergy. 
They shut every door and window, and blocked up every crevice, 
key -hole, etc., through which the spirit might pass. They then 
prayed in every room, after which having driven the spirit out of 

* Referred to on page 288. 

M M 2 


each room in succession, they locked it up in a cupboard, with 
either the key of the Church door or a specially-made silver key 
(Miss Le Pelley could not find out which, some say one, and some 
another), but the ghost has not troubled the Brock family since. 

The old servants now living in the house firmly believe that the 
ghost still inhabits the cupboard, and affirm that its groans can 
still be heard.* 


Judith Ozanne, an old woman, who is servant at the Le Pelleys', 
tells the following story. 

Her uncle, an old Mr. Ozanne, remembered the last Mr. Guille 
who inhabited the original " St. George," the old house which has 
been replaced by the modern building which is now known as 
" St. George." 

This Mr. Guille left instructions that the old house was never 
to be pulled down, as a spirit had been shut up in one of the 
cupboards; but his son found the old house quite unsuitable for 
his bride to live in, so he pulled it down, and built the present 
house, and the consequence was that the poor homeless spirit 
was forced to wander about the garden. Judith's uncle saw him 
often on moonlight nights, wandering among the trees around the 

All the family saw him too, and decided that something had 
to be done. So they had a "conjuration" as they call a laying 
of the spirit, and tried to induce it to enter an underground 
cellar, and shut it down by means of a trap door. 

But Mr. Ozanne would never say whether or no they were 
successful. Judith Ozanne finishes the story by saying, " And I 
should like to know what would happen to Mr. Blondel's spirit if 
this house were burnt down ? " * 

Many of the old Guernsey "haunted houses" had their ghosts 
locked up in cupboards. Mrs. Le Poidevin, who in her youth 
had been an " ironer," and had gone round from house to house 
ironing after the weekly washing at home had taken place, related 
that the famous haunted house at the Tour Beauregard was 
also in possession of a ghost locked up in a cupboard, a cupboard 
whose doors, in spite of many efforts, would not open, and from 
which the most fearful groans and dismal wailings were heard to 

* From Miss E. Le Pelley. 


arise. Mrs. Le Poidevin also used to go as ironer to the old 
house at the top of Smith Street, now pulled down, belonging, 
to the de Jersey family. In this house also was a ghost locked 
up in a cupboard, and Mrs. de Jersey, a very strong minded 
old lady, in defiance of superstition insisted on having this 
cupboard door forced open, and the ghost escaped ! After that 
the house was rendered almost uninhabitable by the frightful 
noises -that were heard all over it. No one could get any sleep, 
and not a servant could be found to stay in the house. So 
finally Mrs. de Jersey decided to have the clergy called in, and 
one of the maids described to Mrs. Le Poidevin the ceremonies 
that ensued. 

She said that every outer door was locked, all the crevices 
between the window sashes were wedged up, and every keyhole 
was plugged up. Then the minister of St. James' and some of 
the other clergy prayed in every room, and she thought they 
read something about "casting out devils." Finally the ghost was 
locked up with the key of the Church door.* 


La Petite Porte is the sandy bay immediately underneath 
Jerbourg. Tradition derives its name " the little door " from 
an incident which is said to have occurred in 1338. In those 
days the French had made one of their periodical inroads on the 
island, and were in possession of its principal fortresses. Eighty- 
seven men of St. Martin's parish, headed by 1'honorable " Capitaine 
Jean de la Marche," f attempted to disloge them, but were defeated 
at Mare-Madoc, in the Hubits, and fled down to La Petite Porte, 

* From Mrs. Le Poidevin. 

In Aloncure Conway's book on Demonology and Devil-Lore, Vol. I., p. 102, he says : " The 
key has a holy sense in various religions." I have not been able to find out the exact formula 
used by the clergy, but in the Sarum Office, and also in the first Prayer Book of Edward VI., 
an exorcism is given to be used at the Baptism of Infants, in which the evil spirit is addressed 
as follows : " Therefore, thou accursed spirit, remember thy sentence, remember thy judgment, 
remember the day to be at hand, wherein thou shall burn in fire everlasting, prepared for thee 
and thy angels," etc. This was founded on the ancient exorcisms, and was only left out in the 
revision of 1552, in deference to the criticisms of Bucer. 

t " L'honorable Jean de la Marche, du has, Commandant-en-Chef de la paroisse de 
St. Martin, voyant 1'isle de Guernesey revoltee centre son K.oi, et servant de preference sous 
les drapeaux Francais ; ce vaillant homme, dis-je, emu par un esprit vraiment loyal, et 
seconde par 1'honorable Messire Pierre de Sausmarez, James Guille, Jean de Blanchelande, 
Pierre Bonamy, Thomas Vauriouf, et Thomas Etibaut, qui allerent partout chercher des 
secours, et tachant de detruire tous les factieux, et anim'-s d'un desir d'assister a leur bien- 
faiteur pour reprendre le Chateau Cornet, assistes par les braves habitants de la petite 


where they embarked for Jersey, and founded a colony at St. 
Ouen's. An old Jersey manuscript goes on to say that Charles II., 
during his sojourn in Jersey, was so touched by the recital of 
the bravery and fidelity of these men, that he granted to the 
" South " Eegiment of Militia, the old " Kegiment Bleu," a 
special " aiguillette d'argent." Later authorities disprove this, on 
the grounds that there were not, at this epoch, either regiments 
or uniforms, and that the " royal blue facings and silver lace " 
quoted as " being borne at present by the South Eegiment of 
Militia " did not exist two centuries ago ! 

But among the old country people, to the present day, the 
bay known as "Moulin Huet " is invariably called " Vier Port" 
(old harbour), and if one mentions "Moulin Huet Bay" they 
will tell you that the name " Moulin Huet " only applies to the 
old mill, (now destroyed, and the site turned into a picnic house), 
and that it was " Les Anglais " who transferred the name of 
the mill to the bay just below, so that " La Petite Porte," being 
just the other side of the bay, might easily have been originally 
"Petit Port "( Little Harbour.) 

Bounded by the " Tas de Pois," the most magnificent rocks in 
the Channel Islands, it is noted for its beauty, and, from its long 
expanse of sand, is the best place for sand-eeling. But about 
the beginning of last century no sand-eelers dared approach this 
spot by night. Screams, shrieks, and groans were heard there, night 
after night, and finally it was shunned after dark by the whole 
island. There was no difficulty in the people's minds in accounting 
for these sounds. Two such awful tragedies were connected with 
this bay and its environs that it was an " embarras de richesse " 

Cesaree ; la paroisse de St. Martin leva et envoya quatre-vingt-sept hommes, qui se joignirent 
aux dites honorables personnes, sous le commandement du dit noble Jean de la Marche, du 
bas ; ce nombre etait autant que la paroisse de St . Martin put en fournir dans ce temps 
la. Ayant etc attaques au Mont Madau (dit les Hubits) ils firent retraite et s'embarquerent 
a la petite Porte (qui porte ce nom a cause de cette aventuro) sur de freles barques, parmi 
les rochers, et arriverent enfin a Jersey, et se joignirent sous le commandement de Messire 
Renaud de Carteret, Grand Gouverneur des lies, et se battirent vailleusement sous les 
drapeaux de sa Majeste, apres avoir echappe a la fureur d'une mer orageuse. St. Martin 
etait la seule paroisse de cette isle de Guernesey, qui se garda sous Pobeissance du Roi, 
pour lesquels bons services, il plut a sa Majeste Charles II., leur accorder a leur requete le 
galon d'argent comme le plus noble. C'est alors que plusieurs habitants de St. Martin don- 
nerent leurs services pour leurs vies au susdit Renaud de Carteret, Gouverneur-en-Chef, et 
concurent un tel mepris pour leurs pays qu'ils habiterent Jersey. Lisez pour cela le discours 
que Charles- II. donna au Parlement a son retour, et 1'estime et 1'eloge qu'il fait de ces 
heros." From an old document entitled " Touckant La Preseance d'Honneur chalengee, pat 


to decide which of the ghosts of the two men who had been 
murdered in this vicinity it could be ! 

The first of these stories has already been published in a little 
book, now out of print, called Anglo-Norman Legends or Tales of 
the Channel Islands, N.D., under the title of " John Andrew 
Gordier," and has also been taken as the foundation of "Kachel 
Mauger, a Guernsey Tragedy," published some years ago in Clarke's 
Ckiernsey Magazine, where also, in the number for May, 1883, 
the same story is given in a condensed form, as taken from a 
newspaper cutting, and is preceded by the following note, signed 
"J. Y." 

" The following striking narrative, relating to the origin of a 
drama celebrated in its day (the tragedy of "Julia)," became 
known to the writer through an old newspaper cutting preserved 
in a family scrap book. The newspaper of which we speak must 
be at least fifty years old (in 1883), and it related events which 
were then long past." 

A book called The Locket, by Mrs. Alfred Marks is based on 
the same tradition. 

Though these events must have happened nearly two hundred 
years ago, there are still some recollections of them lingering in 
the minds of the very old people, who preface them by saying 
" J'ai out dire a ma gran' mere !" 

The story runs thus : " About the end of the seventeenth 
century there was an extremely beautiful girl, living at the Varclin, 
in St. Martin's parish, called Rachel Mauger. The Maugers were 
of a good old Guernsey family, and were, in those days, extremely 
well-to-do. She was engaged to John Andrew Gordier, a native 
of Jersey, though of French extraction. One day he sent her 
word that he was going to sail over from Jersey to see her, and 
intended landing at La Petite Porte, which was the nearest place 
to her house. She started to go to meet him. But he never 
appeared, and she had to return home, fearing that some accident 
had happened to him. What really had happened was this : 
There was a wealthy merchant, in St. Peter "Port, named Gaillard, 
who had long wished to marry Rachel ; he had formerly been her 
father's clerk, so they had been much thrown together, but she 
did not reciprocate his affection. 

The day Mr. Gordier sailed over to Guernsey, Gaillard was 
down in the bay of La Petite Porte, having previously been 


refused admission to the Mauger's house, on the ground -that Mr. 
Gordier was expected, and they were all busy preparing for his 
reception. Brooding over his wrongs, he looked up, and saw his 
rival just on the point of landing. Mad with jealousy he waited 
behind the rocks till he saw him preparing to ascend the winding 
path which leads to the top of the cliff, then he rushed out, and 
stabbed him twice in the back with the knife he always carried, 
and, doubling him up, thrust the body into a cave close by with 
a particularly small entrance. The cave is still pointed out, and 
is on the western side of the bay, just below the path, leading 
from La Petite Porte to Moulin Huet. Before leaving the body, 
Gaillard searched it, and abstracted a peculiarly-shaped locket from 
one of the pockets, which Gordier was bringing as a present to 
his fianc&e. 

Of course the disappearance of Gordier led to a search, and 
his body being finally discovered in this cave by some boys, his 
murder was made manifest. His mother finally resolved to come 
over and visit her intended daughter-in-law, whom she found in a 
most depressed and excitable condition, and evidently dying of a 
broken heart. United to the shock of her lover's death, she had 
been exposed to the incessant persecution of her relations, who 
were determined that she should marry Gaillard, and had insisted 
that she should accept the locket that he had stolen from Gordier's 
corpse, and, with a refinement of malice, had pressed on her. So 
unstrung was the unfortunate Rachel that she did nothing but 
sink into one fainting fit after another on seeing Mrs. Gordier, 
and when the latter, struck with horror on seeing this jewel on 
her watch-chain, asked her how she had come into possession of 
a locket which had, she knew, been made specially for her in 
Jersey by her son's orders, the unhappy girl turned deadly pale, 
and, murmuring the word " clerc," fell in a dead faint to the 
ground. The final shock, and sudden conviction that they had 
been harbouring her lover's murderer, being too much for her in 
her enfeebled condition, she died in a few moments. 

Mrs. Gordier misinterpreted the poor girl's grief, and, thinking 
it proceeded from a guilty conscience, intimated that it evidently 
shewed that Eachel was an accomplice in the murder. Naturally 
the Maugers were most indignant at such an unworthy aspersion 
on their daughter, and, after a violent scene, asked her to prove 
her statements. She replied that the jewel their daughter was 


then wearing was one which was purchased by her son before 
leaving Jersey, and she proved the fact by touching a secret 
spring and shewing his portrait concealed in the locket. The 
Maugers, knowing that Gaillard had been the donor of this jewel, 
and connecting " clerc," the last word Eachel's lips had uttered, 
with him, as being her father's clerk, immediately sent for him. 
On being confronted with the jewel, and asked to explain how it 
came into his possession, he replied that he had purchased it 
from a Jew, named Levi, who had for years paid periodical visits 
to the island as a pedlar. So Levi was then considered to be 
undoubtedly guilty, and was taken into custody, but then, 
remorse, the fear of public shame, and also the conviction that, 
Rachel being dead nothing made life worth living, so wrought 
on the miserable Gaillard, that the morning of the day on which 
Levi was to be brought before the Eoyal Court, he was found 
dead, stabbed by his own hand. 

A letter was found on the table in his room confessing his 
guilt and reading thus : " None but those who have experienced 
the furious impulse of ungovernable love will pardon the crime 
which I have committed, in order to obtain the incomparable 
object by whom my passions were inflamed. But, Thou, O 
Father of Mercies ! who implanted in my soul these strong desires, 
wilt forgive one rash attempt to accomplish my determined 
purpose, in opposition, as it should seem, to thy Almighty 
Providence." * 


This second story is not at all well known, except among some 
of the very old people at St. Martin's. I will not mention the 
names of the murderers, as descendants of the family still survive, 
and are among the most respected of the country people. 

At the end of ths eighteenth century many French noblemen fled 
over here, to escape the terrors of the French revolution. Among 
them was a Seigneur de Dameque. (I have no idea whether or 
not whether this is the correct spelling of -his name, but it repre- 
sents the pronunciation of the people). He came out to St. Martin's 
parish, and took a house at Le flurel, just above La Vallon. He 
was very proud and reserved, made no friends, and was always 

* From Mrs. Le Patourel, Mr. Tourtel, and from my father, who had heard it from his father, 
and collated with the printed versions of the story. 


seen going for long solitary walks, or pacing down " Les 
Olivettes," (the old name for what is now known as " the water 
lane ") or underneath " Les Eochers," the cliffs on which the 
Manor House of Blanchelande now stands, and resting by the 
" doui't " where the pond at Le Vallon now is, but which, in 
those days, was public property. 

He was always very richly dressed, and was supposed to have 
hidden hoards of wealth, as well as to carry large sums of 
money on his person. There were two or three brothers who 
lived together in a house near Le Varclin, who, tempted by his 
supposed riches, and thinking that his isolation would prevent his 
disappearance being noticed or enquiries being made, decided on 
following him on one of his solitary rambles and on murdering 
him. These brothers had always borne a bad reputation ; they 
gambled and drank, and were the " vauriens " of an otherwise 
respectable family. 

So, one evening, they followed him, as, passing above La Petite 
Porte, he entered into the narrow lane, overgrown with trees and 
thorn bushes, which leads to Jerbourg Point. There they closed 
upon him, and, being two or three to one, murdered him, and, 
after having robbed the body of his watch, rings, etc., buried the 
corpse under some of the heaps of stones which lie on the 
waste lands at the top cf the cliff. 

Some wonder was caused at Le Hurel when he failed to 
appear, but the rumour was started that he had been seen sailing 
away in a little fishing boat he used to hire for the season, 
from Bee du Nez, and which the murderers had had the 
forethought to scuttle and sink. The country people thought he 
had returned to his native land, and all interest in the matter 

But there was one man to whom M. de Dameque's disappear- 
ance meant much. In Paris he had left a dear friend, a 
Dr. Le Harrier. These two men wrote to each other regularly, 
and when M. de Dameque's letters suddenly ceased, letters came 
to Le Hurel from this doctor, asking for explanations letters 
which were never answered. Among M. de Dameque's jewellery 
was a beautiful and most uncommon watch, with either his coronet 
and monogram or his coronet and arms displayed on the case. 
One day, some years after his disappearance, Dr. Le Harrier, 
walking through the streets of Paris, saw this unmistakable 



Haunted Lane near Jerbourg. 


watch hanging in a jeweller's shop. He went in and asked the 
man how it had got into his possession, and the man told him 
it had been brought by some men from Guernsey, who had been 
trying to sell it in England, Holland, and Belgium, and finally 
had left it with him to dispose of. Dr. Le Harrier bought the 
watch, and, taking the men's address, started at once for Guernsey. 
When he arrived he made enquiries, and, finding that these men 
bore a bad reputation, took some constables with him and went 
to the house. There they found them sodden with drink, and, 
haunted by fear and remorse when they saw the watch, they 
sank down on tbeir knees and confessed everything, and were led 
off then and there to prison. 

The next thing to be done was to disinter the bones of the 
murdered man and give them Christian burial. Heavily handcuffed 
the brothers were taken to the spot, accompanied by various 
members of the clergy, a doctor, who had to certify that every 
bone was there, (this is a point much dwelt upon by every teller 
of the story), Dr. Le Harrier, and all the people of St. Martin's. 
Then the bones, being found, were placed in a coffin, and reverently 
buried in St. Martin's churchyard. 

After the last spadeful of earth had been put in the grave, and 
while handcuffed prisoners and all the bystanders were still present, 
an old St. Martin's man, named Pierre Jehan, got up and made 
the following speech, which I have written down word for word as 
the people still tell it. 

" Autrefois quand on enterrait des depouilles mortelles on y envoy ait 
des rameaux et des bouquets de fleurs. Aujourd'hui on ne voit rien 
de tout qa.'' 

" Autrefois on aurait donne un quartier de froment en fonds 

d' heritage pour porter le nom de . Aujourd'hui on en donnera 

quatre pour ne le pas porter." 

( " Formerly when burying a corpse one sent branches of trees 
and bouquets of flowers. To-day there is nothing of that." 

" Formerly one would have given a quarter of wheat rent to bear 
the name of . To-day one would give four not to bear it.") 

The_shock and the shame were such that the brothers were 
seized by what the people call " a stroke," and to the relief of 
their relations died in prison before being brought for trial. 

That the ghosts of these two murdered men should revisit the 
scenes of the crime was only to be expected, but finally, when Lg, 


Petite Porte was shut to sand-eelers by reason of " ces cris 
terribles," some of the neighbours and fishermen began to wonder 
whether nothing could be done to lay thes3 unquiet spirits and free 
the bay from its supernatural visitants. 

There was a man called Pierre Thoume, who lived at Les 
Blanches, most popular in the parish, being ready to go every- 
where and join in everything, though he was emphatically a " bon 
Chretien." He was a distant relative of the murderers of M. de 
Dameque, and, having heard these noises at various times, it was 
borne in upon him that perhaps if ha could find out what the ghost 
wanted, he could fulfil its wishes, and so let it rest in peace. He 
even prayed for guidance, and more and more he felt it to be his 
duty to go and meet the ghost face to face. At first some other 
men said they would join him, but when the appointed night came 
their spirits failed them, and no one arrived at the rendezvous. 
Undaunted, and armed only with his Bible, Mr. Thoume sallied 
forth alone at midnight. I think it is difficult to realise what moral 
and physical courage it must have involved to go forth alone to 
encounter the supsrnatural, fully persuaded of its unearthly 

Early in the morning he returned to his home, looking very 
white, and with a curiously set expression on his face. His wife 
and daughters, who had waited up for him, rushed at him to know 
what had happened, but he said, " You must never ask me what 
has happened, what I have seen, what I have done. I have sworn 
to keep it a secret, and as a secret it will die with me, but this 
I can tell you, you may go to La Petite Porte at any hour of the 
day or night, and never again shall any ghost haunt it, or noise 
or scream be heard." And to this day the noises have utterly 

Pierre Thoums kept his vow, though his family, friends, and 
neighbours, implored him time after time, even on his death bed, to 
tell them what he had seen. His invariable reply was, " I have 
given my word, and I will not break it." * 


There are two houses called Les Caches in St. Martin's parish, 
situated one behind the other in the district so called, between 

* From Mrs. Rowswell, Mr. Thoume's daughter, Mrs. Le Patourel, Mrs. Charles Marquand, 
Margaret Mauger, Mr. Tourtel, and many others, inhabitants of St. Martin's parish. 


the blacksmith's forge at St. Martin's and the Forest Eoad. 
Tradition says that they all formed part of one property, which 
extended as far as St. Martin's Church, and was a nunnery, the 
nuns having a private lane of their own by which they could go 
to the church without the fear of meeting any men en route. 
There is a pond situated to the left of a long avenue which now 
leads to the front door of one of the houses, and for years it was 
believed that on a certain night of ths year, a woman's figure, dressed 
in grey, is seen walking up and down the avenue, weeping and 
wringing her hands, and then rushing to the pond. The story 
the people tell to account for this appearance is, that one of the 
nuns was discovered at the dead of night trying to drown her 
child and herself in the pond. They were rescued, but only for 
a worse fate, for the unfortunate woman and child were bricked 
up in a cupboard which is now situated in one of the outhouses, 
but is supposed to have been the old refectory. The people also 
tell in confirmation of this story that the night the ghost is seen 
this cupboard door flies open of itself though it is quite impossible 
to force it open at any other time. 

It is possible that if this was an ecclesiastical establishment, it 
was one of those alien priories of which Sir Edgar MacCulloch 
says : 

" After the loss of Normandy the inconvenience of having so 

many valuable possessions in the hands of the enemy, led to the 

suppression of these priories, and in these islands, whenever there 

was war between England and France, alien ecclesiastics were 

compelled to leave." 

So probably the old conventual buildings, if there were any, 
were allowed to fall into ruins, and the land passed into the hands 
of the Patrys, and thence, through the marriage of Marguerite 
Patrys and Pierre Bonamy, into the possession of the Bonamvs, 
who owned it for many centuries. There is an old document which 
tells the story of how the Bonamys first came to Guernsey. 

" On their return from the Holy Land, whither they 
had accompanied the King of France, two brothers were 
driven by a violent storm, and thrown into a little bay, where 
their bark went to pieces. In gratitude for their preservation they 
made a vow to remain where Providence had placed them. One, a 
priest, founded a church, and the other married and founded the 
Bonamy family." In 1495, John Bonamy, son of Pierre and 


Marguerite I'atrys, was " Procureur du Koi" in Guernsey, and his 
old MS. memorandum book still survives, in which he describes 
a pilgrimage to Borne he made in 1504, through France and Italy. 

The following extracts relative to building Les Caches have been 
deciphered from the old crabbed manuscript by Colonel J. H. 
Carteret Carey : 

1468. M des gans quy mont aydy a caryer la pcre . . . . et des 
grant roquez . . . . de le Cluse Luet premez Gylome robert j jo r &c. 

1498. M que je marchande de Colas Fyquet po r ma meson, le but 
deverz le nort .... par la some de viij escus .... II comencest le 
xiijeme j(f ft u In0 y s ae Maye le Mardyt. 

1504. M que Gylome le Corvar et Colin Savage comancer acovyr 
ma grange landeman du jo,- Saint Appolyne. Acevest le jo r Saint Aubin 
Ian vc quatre," which may be translated : 

(1468. Memo of the people who helped me to quarry the stone. . . . 
and the big rocks. ... of " 1'Ecluse Luet " [the Ecluse was the mill- 
dam in connection with the old watermill which gave its name to 
Moulin Huet Bay. It was situated in the hollow at the bottom of 
the water-lane of " Les Olivettes," just above the old Mill House] 
first William Robert, one day, &c. 

(1498. Memo. That I bargain with Colas Fyquet about my house, 
the end (to be) towards the north. . . . for the sum of eight escus. 
They began the 18th of May on Tuesday.) 

(1504. Memo. That William Le Corvar (&) Colin Savage, began 
to cover my barn the day following the day of Saint Appolyne 
[Feb. 9,] finished the day of St. Aubin [March 1,] 1504.) 

In the parish of St. Martin's they still tell a story of the old 
days when the Bonamys yet occupied Les Caches. 

" Years and years ago, there was an old Helier Bonamy,* who 
lived at the Caches. He was one of the richest men in Guernsey, 
and kept, as well as cows and horses, a large flock of sheep, there 
being much demand for wool in those days on account of the 
quantity of jerseys, stockings, &c., knitted over here. One night he 
and his daughter went to a ball in the town. Tradition even goes 
so far as to say that Miss Bonamy was dressed in white brocade. 

* On referring to the Bonamy pedigree, the only Helier Bonamy who appears to have owned 
Les Caches, is a " Hellier, fils Pierre." Peter Bonamy being a Jurat in 1548. Helier does not 
seem to have borne the best of reputations, for Nicholas Bermis writes of him to Bishop Horn : 
" Guernsey, December 13, 1575. He is a disorderly character, notorious for impiety and 
obstinacy. . . . Finally publicly excommunicated from the commune of the Church of God and 
of His Sainti and given over to Satan until he should repent." Zurich Letters, Vol. II., p. 224. 


Before starting, Helier Bonamy summoned his herdsmen, and told 
them to keep a sharp look out after his sheep, for that there were 
many lawless men about. Helier and his daughter * walked home 
that night earlier than was expected. 

As they turned into the avenue, between high hedges and forest 
trees, they heard the bleatings of sheep in pain. " Ecoute done, ce 
sont mes berbis " (Listen, those are my sheep), sai'd Helier, and 
drew his daughter under the hedge to listen. Peeping through the 
bushes they saw his herdsman and farm labourers calling each 
other by name, drinking, talking and laughing, and, while cutting 
the throats of the defenceless sheep, chanting in chorus : 
" Basons I rasons ! les berbis 
Du grand Bonamy, 
S'il etait ichin d'vdnt, 
Nou I'i en fera'it autant ! " 
(Shear ! shear ! the sheep, 
Of the great Bonamy, 
Were he here before us, 
We would do as much to him). 

They crept up the avenue unobserved to the house, for Helier 
was afraid to confront all these men who had evidently been 
drinking heavily, alone and unarmed. The next day his herdsman 
came to him with a long face, and said that robbers had broken 
into the sheepfold in the night and killed all the sheep, and 
brought up the other men as witnesses. Mr. Bonamy said nothing, 
except that he would like all these men to accompany him down 
to the Court to there testify to the robbery. This they did, and 
when they got there and told their story, Mr. Bonamy and his 
daughter then turned round and denounced them. They were 
taken into custody, and hanged shortly afterwards at St. Andrew's. * 
There are several stories illustrating the re-appearance of people 
whose dying wishes had been disregarded by their survivors, and 
also of people wishing to tell their heirs where their treasure had 
been hid. 

At the King's Mills, a Mrs. Marquand died, and left instructions 
with her husband that her clothes were to be given to her sister 

* Even into the nineteenth century the old ladies would tell you how they walked home, lit by 
a three-candled lantern from " the Assemblys " and how the last dance was always given to the 
favourite partner, so that he might have the privilege of accompanying them. 

* From Miss C. Tardif, who was told the story by her grandmother. 


Judith. After her death the widower did not do it, so every night 
her ghost came and knocked at her husband's door. One night 
she rapped so loudly that all the neighbours opened their windows, 
and heard her say : 

" Jean, combien de temps que tu me feras done souffrir, donne 
done mes hardes a ma sceur Judi" 

(John, how much longer wilt thou make me suffer, give then 
my clothes to my sister Judy). 

He gave the clothes the next day, and the spirit returned no 

Almost the same story is told of a Mrs. Guille, who gave 
orders that after her death a certain amount of clothes were to 
be bought and yearly distributed amongst the poor. This her 
husband neglected to comply with, so Mrs. Guille visited him 
one night, and told him that she would do so every night until the 
clothes were given. Mr. Guille hurriedly bought and distributed the 
clothes, and continued to do so yearly until he died.f 

Miss Le Pelley also contributes the following ghost stories which 
are told at St. Pierre-du-Bois : 

" About the beginning of the century a man went to Gaspe 
(which the narrator said was Newfoundland, but is really on the 
mainland). While there, his father died suddenly, and the son 
came back to Guernsey to work the farm. One night his father 
appeared to him and told him that he would find " tine petite 
houlette" (a little mug) on the barn wall, with something ofx 
value in it. Next morning the son went to look, and found a 
mug full of five franc pieces." 

" A widow in Little Sark had sold her sheep advantageously and 
hidden the money in the "poutre" (the large central rafter which 
runs along the ceiling of the kitchen). Quite suddenly she died. 
Whenever her son walked about in Little Sark he met his mother, 
which made him feel very frightened, so one day he made his 
brother come with him, and together they met her, and plucked 
up courage enough to say :- ' In the name of the Great God 
what ails you,' so then, having been spoken to first, she could 
tell them where her hoard of treasure was, and then disappeared, 
and was never seen again." 

The whole country-side is full of shreds of ghost stories and 

+ Collected by Miss E. Le Pelley. 

N N 


beliefs ; many of these were probably due to, and encouraged by, 
the smugglers of olden days. 

For instance a funeral procession was supposed to issue from an 
old lane south of Le Hurel now blocked up and no St. Martin's 
man or woman would dare pass the place at night. But smugglers, 
creeping along between the overhanging hedges, with kegs and 
bundles on their shoulders, would have had just the same effect, 
especially to people who would have been far too frightened at an 
unexpected nocturnal appearance to stop and investigate the matter. 

At the corner between Les Maindonneaux and the Hermitage, 
a tall figure was said to appear, and hover round the spot. When 
the road was widened and the wall round the Hermitage was 
built, a stone coffin was found full of very large bones. These 
bones were taken to the churchyard, and the burial service read 
over them, and since then no ghost has been seen. 

Then, a little further